Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

U.K. Supermarket Woes Continue as Aldi and Lidl Growth Persists

All four of the U.K.’s largest supermarkets saw sales decline over the last 12 weeks as the expansion of discounters Aldi and Lidl continued to roil the industry.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s Asda was the hardest hit, with sales falling 2.7 percent through July 19, researcher Kantar Worldpanel said in its monthly report Tuesday. Revenue at J Sainsbury Plc fell just 0.3 percent, meaning the London-based company leapfrogged Asda to become the U.K.’s second-largest grocer. Market leader Tesco Plc’s sales dropped 0.6 percent.

Aldi and Lidl continue to gain traction in the U.K. amid increasing acceptance by British shoppers. Their sales increased by 17 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in the 12-week period, Kantar Worldpanel said. The flight toward the discounters has led to more than a year of falling grocery prices as bigger supermarkets have fought to retain customers.

Aldi is attracting new customers through investment in the depth and quality of its product range, Jonathan Neale, Aldi’s joint managing director of buying, said by e-mail.

“Savvy consumers are shopping with us because they want quality products without having to pay expensive prices.”

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