William Morrison Supermarkets Plc (MRW)’s 12-week sales advanced for a third straight month, signaling the U.K. grocer’s push to get shoppers back into its stores with revamped shops and fresh food is paying off.
Sales rose 1.2 percent in the 12 weeks to June 9, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel, the third consecutive increase after six periods of decline. Morrison’s market share fell to 11.6 percent in the period from 11.8 percent a year earlier.
“Although Morrison’s’ share continues to decline, the loss this period is the lowest for 2013 and indicates a small underlying improvement for the grocer,” Kantar said in a statement.
Morrison last month entered into a 170 million-pound ($265 million) deal with online supermarket Ocado Group Plc (OCDO) for a belated entry to the Web grocery market in the U.K. Still, the U.K’s fourth largest grocer, along with its bigger rivals Tesco Plc (TSCO) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda, is losing market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl and upscale competitors Waitrose and J Sainsbury Plc.
“Savvy shoppers are looking for a good deal, but Britain’s largest supermarkets should not lose sight of the other attributes consumers are looking for in their grocer -- quality products, clear provenance and an enjoyable in-store experience,” said Fraser McKevitt, a retail analyst at Kantar Worldpanel. Sainsbury (SBRY) was the only one of the four biggest U.K. grocers to win market share on an annual basis, the Kantar data showed, while discounters Aldi and Lidl had record market shares. Spending at Sainsbury increased 3.5 percent in the 12-week period and market share rose to 16.7 percent from 16.6 percent a year earlier, Kantar said.
The U.K.’s largest supermarket Tesco Plc’s share fell to 30.5 percent from 31 percent, with sales up 1.3 percent.
Waitrose’s 12-week sales climbed 10.4 percent, while its market share rose to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent. Aldi’s revenue jumped 30 percent and market share advanced to 3.6 percent from 2.8 percent.
Market share at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)’s Asda chain weakened to 16.9 percent from 17.2 percent.
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