More bad news for Britain's 'big four' supermarkets today as data from Nielsen shows that the German insurgents Aldi and Lidl nabbed an impressive 10.7% of the UK grocery market in the 12 weeks to January 31st, up from 9.3% last year. Aldi was the standout performer with sales growth of 17.3% on last year, while Lidl's sales were up 13.8%. The sector as a whole grew by just 0.7%
'The 10% market share for discounters has not been seen since the heyday of Kwik Save some 15 years ago,' said Nielsen UK's head of retail and business insight Mike Watkins. 'Initially built on the premise of saving money, the new wave of discounters are now a regular part of grocery shopping and have changed shopping habits forever.'
Nielsen said the only big supermarket to grow its sales in the period was Morrisons – news which comes too late to save the scalp of outgoing chief executive Dalton Philips, who will officially leave the business on Monday.
The data contrasts with figures from Kantar Worldpanel released on Tuesday covering a similar period, which showed that Tesco was the only one of the big four which was growing. Kantar said Lidl and Aldi's combined market share was more like 8.5%, and it's not clear where the discrepancy comes from.
What is clear, though, is that the discounters are here to stay and the big four will have to find a way of dealing with that threat if they want to return to stable growth in the future.