"Inflation is helping supermarkets" as sales rise across the Big 4

Kantar data shows robust UK supermarket sales growth

TOP NEWS: Christmas Comes Early For Grocers As Sales Continue To Grow

Tesco's sales grew 2.1% though its market share shrank 0.3 percentage points to 27.9%.

German retailers Aldi and Lidl continue to take market share from the top four United Kingdom grocery chains-Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons-a survey from Kantar Worldpanel showed Tuesday.

However all four have lost market share.

Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) maintained its position as the leading grocer in the United Kingdom, according to Kantar, despite its market share declining to 27.9% in the latest 12 weeks, from 28.2% in the comparable period.

Investors have reacted positively to the news, with Morrisons' share price having added 0.94 percent to 236.70p as of 09:40 BST, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has slipped into the red and is now 0.20 percent worse off at 7,512.07 points.

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Meanwhile, Christmas has already started in the supermarket aisles: £69m of chocolate confectionary boxes were sold in the past four weeks - a near threefold increase on sales in August, sales of mince pies reached £4m, and the British public spent £1.1m on Christmas puddings.

The UK's grocers have seen their 17 consecutive period of growth with value increasing 3.1 per cent year-on-year, as inflation and early Christmas shopping boost margins. Sainsbury's and Asda grew sales 1.9 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively. Mckevitt also said that growing sales at Morrisons' stores "were supplemented by rapid expansion on its e-commerce platform", most notably in London and the south where online sales have risen 29%. "Despite traditionally selling a higher proportion of brands than its major rivals it is own-label sales which are driving the growth at Asda". Morrison Supermarkets PLC's (MRW.LN) market share declined to 10.3%, from 10.4%, while sales increased by 2.8% to GBP2.63 billion.

Online sales growth has slowed to 6.7% from a recent high of 21.9% in October 2014, though Kantar noted that only 18% of the population bought groceries online in the latest 12 weeks, offering lots of potential for long-term growth.

The data showed that like-for-like grocery inflation remains at 3.2%, but the rate is projected to fall below 2% in the first quarter of 2018.

Nielsen, which also released supermarket sales figures this morning, reported that inflation was at its highest point in almost four years.

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