• Tesco, Asda see sales decline as market finds growth elusive
  • Online grocery sales remain area of strength, Kantar says

J Sainsbury Plc was the only one of the U.K.’s largest four supermarkets to increase sales in the last 12 weeks as an expansion of its convenience-store business helped it withstand the onslaught of the discount grocers.

Market leader Tesco Plc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc all saw their sales fall as German budget chains Aldi and Lidl maintained a push which has seen them grab almost 10 percent of grocery spending, researcher Kantar Worldpanel said in its monthly report.

Sainsbury’s sales rose 0.9 percent in the period ended Sept. 13, matching the pace of growth for the wider industry. The grocer attracted 250,000 new shoppers and held its share at 16.2 percent, Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said in the statement.

The growth of convenience shopping has benefited Sainsbury, while weighing on competitors lacking much of a presence in that area. Morrison this month agreed to sell almost all of its small-store business after failing to turn a profit. Sales at the Bradford, England-based company fell 1.4 percent in the 12 weeks, Kantar said. Asda, which also doesn’t have a significant convenience business, again trailed its peers with a 2.9 percent decline in revenue.

Tesco’s sales dropped 1 percent, while Aldi and Lidl posted growth of 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively, Kantar said. Lidl has about 620 stores in the U.K. and plans to almost double that number.

As supermarkets continued to struggle to attract shoppers into larger stores, online sales rose by 12 percent and now account for almost 7 percent of total grocery revenue, Kantar said.

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