Premium products help Aldi post record Christmas sales

Maxine SotoJan 11, 2017

Industry data out separately showed supermarkets had their best Christmas for four years, with Nielsen reporting a 3.3% surge in sales across the sector over the four weeks to December 31.

Tesco boosted its sales by 1.3 per cent, and the market rewarded it by boosting its share price by 4.4 per cent.

After 28 months of deflation in the market, like-for-like grocery prices have increased by 0.2 percentage points to bring a return to inflation.

BRC chief executive, Helen Dickenson, said: "Food sales were the major contributor to total growth, while non-food sales on the other hand were sluggish overall, despite a strong performance by categories driven by gifting items".

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It was Morrisons biggest rise in like-for-like sales - those at stores open for more than a year - over the key Christmas trading period in seven years.

Mr Potts said Christmas saw customers "splash out and trade up". LFL transaction growth was again strong, up 5.2 per cent year-on-year during the period.

Earlier on Tuesday, a survey by the British Retail Consortium said food sales had spearheaded a "bumper Christmas" for retailers.

Much of Aldi's sales increase was due to the retailer's continued rapid expansion, as it opened 70 stores in 2016 to bring the total number to almost 700. Its new upmarket Best range was also a top performer, the retailer said.

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"Shoppers delayed grocery purchasing to such a degree that it caused a huge surge in sales in the week ending Christmas Eve, with sales rising by 22% compared to the same week last year, helping to make it one of the biggest ever "end of year" for supermarkets", said Nielsen's United Kingdom head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins (pictured above). Analysts have predicted an underlying pre-tax profit of £326 million ($395 million) for the year, but Morrisons says the figure is now likely to be between £330 million and £340 million.

Consumers spent around half a billion pounds more in December than they did the year before, with more than half the population braving a grocery store on Friday 23rd.

Sainsbury's saw a marginal sales decline of 0.1%, though it did deliver strong online sales growth having attracted new shoppers to the channel.

The discounters also saw their market share notch up, with Aldi now at six per cent and Lidl at 4.4 per cent.

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Shares in Morrisons have now risen by 10.25p up to 247.65.

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