Germans now closing in on Co-op

Aldi leapfrogs Waitrose to become sixth biggest supermarket chain

AldiGerman discount supermarket chain Aldi has overtaken Waitrose to become Britain’s sixth biggest by market share.

Aldi now has 5.3% of the market compared with John Lewis-owned Waitrose’s 5.1%.

Its position was sealed after sales in the first quarter leapt by almost 17%.

Waitrose recently reported a robust 2.9% growth in sales, but it was not enough to maintain its position behind the big chains, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

All the UK’s supermarkets are engaged in a fierce price war which has impacted heavily on profit margins as shoppers seek out bargains.

Aldi and its fellow German chain Lidl have carved out a growing slice of the UK market as even upmarket shoppers have been drawn to their lower prices.

The UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, clawed back some ground. Sales in the 12-week period rose 0.3%, giving it a market share of 28.4%.

But the 72.8% share taken by the biggest four retailers is now at the lowest level in a decade.

Fraser McKevitt at Kantar said Aldi’s growth had been fuelled by more than half a million new shoppers, and by customers buying more at its stores.

Aldi is now said to be closing in on the Co-op –  less than one percentage point ahead in terms of market share. However, it is unlikely to penetrate the big four any time soon with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco all well clear of fifth place.

Lidl’s market share has risen to 3.7% so that the combined market share of the two German chains is 9%, against 5.4% three years ago.

The rise of the two discounters has revived memories of Kwik Save and Netto’s grip on this segment of the market in the late 1990s when they held an 11% share.

Sainsbury’s recently relaunched Netto in a bid to claw back some of the discount business and protect its own position. Analysts say it is too early to detect its impact.

However, Aldi and Lidl are continuing to expand while the big four cut back. Some planned stores have been cancelled while existing ones have closed.

Supermarket market share:

Tesco 28.4%
Asda 17.1%
Sainsbury’s 16.4%
Morrisons 10.9%
Co-op 6%
Aldi 5.3%
Waitrose 5.1%
Lidl 3.7%
Iceland 2.1%

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