Lidl overtakes Waitrose as UK shoppers turn to discounters | Business

Lidl has overtaken Waitrose to become the UK’s seventh largest grocer as increasingly cash-strapped shoppers turn to the discounters.

The German discount chain reached a new market share high of 5.2% as sales rose 18.9% in the 12 weeks to 13 August – making it the UK’s fastest growing grocer, according to the latest market share data from analysts Kantar Worldpanel.

Fellow discounter Aldi’s sales rose by 17.2%, giving it a 7% market share. Aldi overtook Waitrose in 2015.

The first British Lidl opened in 1994 and it now has more than 650 stores nationwide after an ambitious expansion programme. Although Lidl has overtaken Waitrose, the upmarket grocer’s share of sales held steady at 5.1%. It managed to increase sales by 2.8% year on year, continuing an unbroken run of growth dating back to March 2009.

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The “big four” – Tesco, Sainsbury’s Asda and Morrisons – all increased sales for the fifth period in a row, their best performance since 2013, but nevertheless lost market share as the discounters grew much faster.

“This welcome period of sustained growth hasn’t been enough to entirely offset pressure from the discounters,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retailer and consumer insight at Kantar. “The big four now account for just 69.3% of the UK grocery market – down from 76.3% five years ago – and that looks set to fall further in the coming months.”

The grocery market is being lifted by inflation, underpinned by the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote last year.

Kantar found the rate of inflation had increased slightly to 3.3% in the latest three-month period after holding steady at 3.2% for the past two months. At the current rate, price increases could add a further £138 to the average household’s annual grocery bill, with the price of butter and fish most affected.

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