Sainsbury's sales rise but Lidl and Aldi 'win Christmas battle'
Supermarkets report record sales for the Christmas period, with winners at both ends of the market
BUDGET supermarket chains have claimed victory in the Christmas sales battle, with Aldi and Lidl reporting record performances over the festive period.
Market leaders Tesco and Sainsbury's found themselves squeezed between hard discounters Aldi and Lidl and upmarket retailers Waitrose and Marks & Spencer this year, although Sainsbury's reported strong sales in December having struggled earlier in the quarter. Here are the reports and predictions so far:
Sainsbury's clung on to its record of quarterly sales rises, says the Financial Times. In the 14 weeks to 4 January, like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and the impact of new stores, rose by 0.2 per cent – the 36th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth. Despite a "tough" October and November, Sainsbury's saw its "busiest ever" trading week in the seven days before Christmas, with 28 million transactions across its stores. One branch in Essex made £1m in sales on 23 December – the most taken by a Sainsbury's store in a single day.
Aldi and Lidl
Nevertheless, Aldi and Lidl were the "clear winners" of the Christmas period, says the BBC's Steph McGovern. "They've done brilliantly with double-digit growth," he said. Yesterday the two German-owned firms both confirmed they had seen their best Christmas in the UK to date, although they did not release sales figures. Aldi said that fresh lobster tails, free-range turkey and luxury mince pies had all proved festive hits, while Lidl said it had sold out of fresh turkeys on Christmas Eve.
At the other end of the market, Waitrose reported strong sales in the run-up to Christmas. On a like-for-like measure, sales for the five-week period to Christmas Eve rose 3.1 per cent compared with 2012. Waitrose said it was a record Christmas period, with a 4.1 per cent rise in sales for the last 12 days of December.
The UK's biggest supermarket chain is due to release its figures tomorrow but analysts at Bernstein have told The Guardian it is likely to be "the biggest loser". Squeezed between its high-end and low-end rivals, Tesco's share of UK spending on groceries is predicted to drop nearly one per cent in the 12 weeks to 5 January.
Marks & Spencer is due to release figures tomorrow, while Morrisons will update its figures on 20 January and Asda on 20 February.