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UK's big four grocers suffer Christmas hangover after sales fall - Kantar

FILE PHOTO: A woman pushes a shopping trolley past Christmas decorations for sale in a Tesco store in Manchester

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's big four supermarkets - Tesco <TSCO.L>, Sainsbury's <SBRY.L>, Asda and Morrisons <MRW.L> - suffered a drop in Christmas sales as shoppers carefully watched their budgets, market research firm Kantar said on Tuesday.

Sales at market leader Tesco fell 1.5% in the 12 weeks to Dec. 29, Kantar said, while at Sainsbury's <SBRY.L> they were down 0.7 %. Walmart-owned Asda suffered a 2.2% fall while Morrisons was down 2.9%, it said.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "There was no sign of the post-election rush many had hoped for in the final weeks before Christmas, with shoppers carefully watching their budgets.

"In fact, many of us cut back on traditional and indulgent festive classics."

Lidl and Aldi were the strongest performing "bricks and mortar" retailers, with sales growth of 10.3% and 5.9% respectively, boosting their combined market share to 13.7%, more than treble the level of a decade ago, Kantar said.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton)