Tesco Sales Decline Eases as Britain's Grocers Get Some Respite

  • Market leader's sales fall at half the pace of prior period
  • Sainsbury leads rivals due to convenience and online growth

Britain’s struggling supermarket industry found some respite in the last 12 weeks, with Tesco Plc’s sales decline easing and J Sainsbury Plc extending its growth streak.

Tesco’s revenue fell 0.8 percent through Feb. 28, according to a report from researcher Kantar Worldpanel, compared with the previous month’s 1.6 percent drop. Sainsbury’s sales rose 0.5 percent, the eighth straight advance. Overall industry sales growth of 0.5 percent was the most since October.

Tesco’s “renewed focus on price promotions has helped stem the flow of shoppers leaving the retailer,” Fraser McKevitt, Kantar Worldpanel’s head of retail and consumer insight, said by e-mail.

The market leader’s discounting contrasts with tactics employed by Sainsbury, which last month pledged to phase out promotional deals such as two-for-one offers by August. Both companies are battling to stem the longstanding encroachment of discounters Aldi and Lidl, which now have a combined 10 percent share of the market. Sales continued to slide at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc.

  • Wm Morrison sales fell 3.2 percent following supermarket closures and the sale of its convenience-store business
  • Asda was disproportionately affected by an industry-wide trend of shoppers spending less in large supermarkets, Kantar said
  • Aldi’s sales rose 15 percent, while Lidl’s rose 19 percent.
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