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Morrisons Returns to Growth to Buck Big Four Supermarket Trend

Written by: Keith Tully

Reviewed: Tuesday 2nd June, 2015

The Yorkshire-based supermarket giant Morrisons has bucked the trend among the ‘Big Four’ grocery retailers in the UK and returned to sales growth in the 12 weeks to May 24th.

According to figures compiled by researchers at Kantar Worldpanel, Morrisons was able to increase its overall sales volumes in the period by 0.1 per cent.

But, while a growth figure of 0.1 per cent might not normally be considered eye-catching, in the context of Britain’s struggling large supermarket sector, the numbers are being seen as notably promising for the company.

“Morrisons has returned to growth for the first time since December 2013 with a marginal sales increase of 0.1 per cent – a welcome boost for new CEO David Potts,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

“A committed core of loyal Morrisons consumers is responding positively to recent initiatives, and business has been boosted by online sales. Morrisons’ performance is an improvement on what was a difficult May 2014, so this is only the first step in any future recovery.”

Overall sales growth within the supermarket sector during the 12 weeks being assessed stood at just 0.2 per cent, with none of Morrisons’ Big Four counterparts in Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury’s able to record growth of any kind.

Meanwhile, at the lower budget end of the supermarket spectrum in the UK, growth performance continues to impress among the likes of Aldi and Lidl, which recorded growth of 8.8 per cent and 15.7 per cent respectively in the 12-week prior to May 24th.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, a growing number of Britons are switching their shopping habits and adding more items to their baskets on a typical visit to ‘discounters’ such as Aldi and Lidl.

Aldi’s overall share of the supermarket sector in the UK now stands at 5.4 per cent, with Lidl accounting for a further 3.9 per cent and both companies having increased their respective shares over the past 12 months.

At the more expensive end of the market, Waitrose managed to increase its overall sales by 1.6 per cent in recent weeks and took its share of Britain’s supermarket sector to 5.2 per cent in the process.

Keith Tully

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Keith has been involved in Business Rescue since 1992, during which time he’s worked for both independent and national firms. His specialties include company restructuring matters and negotiating with HMRC on his clients behalf.

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