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Aldi overtakes Waitrose in Supermarket war

Bargain-hunting shoppers have flocked to discount supermarkets in such numbers that Aldi has overtaken Waitrose to become the country’s sixth largest grocery chain.

The German discount retailer’s sales rose by 16.8 per cent in a year to £1.34 billion for the 12 weeks to March 29 according to figures from Kantar WorldPanel, a market research agency.

Such is its success that Aldi has nudged ahead of Waitrose, where till receipts have increased 2.9 per cent to £1.29 billion.

Hot on the heels of the figures emerging, Aldi announced it plans to open nine additional stores in London, where it is relatively under-represented, creating up to 600 jobs. The new supermarkets include sites in Enfield, South Norwood, Tooting, Dartford and Romford.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Aldi has recorded double digit sales growth for the past four years and is now Britain’s sixth largest supermarket with 5.3 per cent of the market.
“Growth has been fuelled by over half a million new shoppers choosing to visit Aldi this year and average basket sizes increasing by 7 per cent.”

Aldi’s rise underlines the remarkable speed with which the company, along with Lidl, a German rival, has changed British shopping habits. Aldi opened its first UK store in 1990, although its growth has picked up sharply since the global financial crisis of 2008 prompted consumers to take more care over expenditure.

In contrast, Waitrose, which employs 61,000 people, can trace its roots back to 1904 when Wallace Waite and Arthur Rose opened their first small store in Acton Hill, West London. The food brand has been part of the John Lewis Partnership since 1937.

Meanwhile, among the country’s “big four” supermarkets, the strain of a price war is taking its toll. Tesco’s sales are up by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, although its market share has slipped slightly from 28.6 per cent to 28.4 per cent.

Asda and Morrisons both revealed a drop in till receipts although there was a glimmer of relief for Sainsbury’s, which recorded its first rise in takings since August, with revenue up by 0.2 per cent to £4.14 billion.

Matt Woodhams, director of Added Value, a brand marketing consultancy, said Aldi’s inexorable rise was much more of a threat to the “big four” than to Waitrose, which operates at the premium end of the market, charging higher prices for food tailored to affluent, often gourmet, customers. “The management at Waitrose will probably be less worried by this news than the big four of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, as well as Co-op, all of whom have more to lose to Aldi than Waitrose does, and all of whom are likely to find it harder to consistently deliver growth at the rate of Waitrose,” he said.

Source: - 8 April 2015