Tesco sales turn stale as it loses yet more market share

It's going from bad to worse for Britain's largest supermarket, as shoppers flee for Aldi and Lidl.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 22 Oct 2014

It’s not been a happy few days for new Tesco boss Dave Lewis, after four executives were suspended yesterday following the discovery first half profits had been overstated by £250m.

Even after he parachuted in new finance boss Alan Stewart three months early today, new figures serve to remind Lewis he has an even more pressing task than putting out fires in the accounts department: the supermarket’s shrinking sales.

Its market share was down 4.5% in the 12 weeks to September 14th, compared to the same period last year, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel. While its market share is still by far the highest of any supermarket, at 28.8%, Tesco is shedding customers faster than any other.

Even Morrisons is doing better. Its market share is still falling – down 1.3% on last year – but back in July both it and Tesco’s had fallen 3.8%. Sainsbury’s has also surpassed Morrisons in the doing badly stakes, with its share down 1.8%. Asda, up 0.8%, is the only one of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets to see its share increase.

German discounters Aldi and Lidl are continuing to grow at an astounding pace, with market share up 29.1% and 17.7% respectively from the previous year. They are nipping at the heels of Waitrose, but the middle-class mecca isn’t doing so badly either, with its slice of the grocery pie up 4.5%.

More bad news, then, for Tesco, and not exactly great for its largest competitors either. But good news for consumers still cash-strapped by stagnant real wages: grocery market growth has slowed to a record low of 0.3% and price inflation is a big fat zero.

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