Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Tesco Gains U.K. Market Share for the First Time in Five Years

  • Retailer is only one of U.K.’s largest grocers to grow sales
  • Food price delation persists in Britain, weighing on recovery

Tesco Plc’s share of its home market grew for the first time in five years, providing further evidence that Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis has gotten the U.K.’s biggest grocer back on track.

Tesco’s sales in the 12 weeks to Oct. 9 rose 1.3 percent, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel. The Welwyn Garden City, England-based retailer was the only one of the U.K.’s four largest grocers to grow sales as falling food prices and the encroachment of German discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to weigh on the sector. Tesco gained market share compared with the year-ago period for the first time since 2011, Kantar said.

“Sales growth has been strongest among family shoppers, while improved trading from its larger supermarket and Extra stores has supported this month’s gains,” Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said of Tesco.

Tesco’s sales performance will bolster investor optimism that Lewis is capable of delivering on his target of doubling the company’s profit margins by 2020. Growth in the U.K. is still held back by food price deflation, with prices falling 0.8 percent in the period, Kantar said. The devaluation of sterling created a public spat last week between Tesco and Dove soap maker Unilever over who would bear the brunt of higher import costs, bringing Brexit’s impact home for U.K. consumers as staples like Marmite spreads and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream vanished from Tesco’s online store.

  • Tesco shares rise as much as 2.4 percent in London trading
  • Sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda have now fallen by more than 5 percent for six consecutive months
  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc’s sales were negatively impacted by last year’s sale of its convenience-store business and the closure of underperforming stores
  • Aldi and Lidl grew sales by 11.4 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively
    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.