Sainsbury Market Share Growth Halts as Shoppers Decamp to Aldi

J Sainsbury Plc’s share of U.K. supermarket spending stopped growing for the first time in six months as discounters such as Aldi and the upscale Waitrose chain gnaw into the dominance of Britain’s big four grocers.

Market share at the country’s third-largest food retailer remained at 16.5 percent in the 12 weeks ended July 7, the first time it failed to expand since January, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel. Sainsbury was the only one of the four main chains not to lose market share in the past year, Kantar said.

Tesco Plc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda chain, Sainsbury and William Morrison Supermarkets Plc are “coming under pressure as a result of long-term market polarization,” Edward Garner, a director at Kantar Worldpanel, said in the statement.

Aldi, rival discounter Lidl and Waitrose now have a combined 11.5 percent of the U.K. grocery market, 3.2 percentage points more than four years ago, Kantar said. That has “cut deeply into the available market share for the bigger retailers who are now having to compete for a contracting middle ground.”

Sales at Sainsbury rose 3.8 percent from a year earlier in the 12 weeks, outpacing Tesco’s 1.8 percent growth, Asda’s 2 percent gain and Morrison’s 1.8 percent increase, Kantar said.

Tesco’s market share fell to 30.1 percent from 30.7 percent a year earlier, while Asda’s dropped to 17 percent from 17.3 percent. Morrison’s declined to 11.7 percent from 11.9 percent.

Aldi’s sales in the 12-week period rose 30 percent, pushing its market share to 3.8 percent from 2.9 percent a year earlier, while revenue at Lidl and Waitrose rose 11 percent.

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