Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

U.K. Grocers' Sales Decline Slows on Boost From Easter Holiday

  • Tesco poised to return to growth as shoppers come back
  • Sales of premium groceries boost performance of Aldi and Lidl

Tesco Plc edged closer to halting its sales decline in the last 12 weeks, as the earlier timing of Easter boosted sales growth for the U.K.’s supermarket operators.

Tesco’s revenue fell 0.2 percent through March 27, researcher Kantar Worldpanel said in a report Tuesday. J Sainsbury Plc’s sales rose 1.2 percent, the best performance of the U.K.’s largest grocers.

The earlier timing of the Easter holiday boosted the beleaguered industry’s sales by 152 million pounds ($216 million) .

“Britain’s love of all things sweet was in evidence, with 63 percent of households buying at least one chocolate egg during March," Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said in the statement.

Both Tesco and Sainsbury are battling to stem the longstanding encroachment of discounters Aldi and Lidl, which now have a combined share of over 10 percent of the market. Sales continued to slide at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda, while Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc’s performance was hurt by last year’s sale of its convenience store business.

Sales of premium own-brand groceries grew 6.6 percent in the period, with discounters Aldi and Lidl growing sales of their premium lines more than twice as quickly as the rest of their ranges, Kantar said. Lidl’s sales grew 18 percent, leading growth among U.K.’s supermarkets. Aldi’s sales rose 14 percent

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