Tesco, Asda and Morrisons suffer sales slide in lead-up to all-important Christmas frenzy

Britain’s embattled supermarket chains are continuing to have a torrid time of it with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons suffering their greatest year-on-year fall in sales in 12 months as they continue to see market share dissipate to discount specialists Aldi and Lidl.

The latest survey to be compiled by Nielsen found that in the four weeks to 7 November sales at the three slid by 1.2 per cent versus a year earlier, a nasty figure which was last exceeded in the four weeks to 11 October 2014 when the chains saw till takings plunge 1.5 per cent.

Worst performing of all was Asda which checked out 4.7 per cent less in sales than the same 12 weeks a year ago whilst both Tesco and Morrisons were off the boil by 1.8 per cent.

It wasn’t all bad news for the so-called big four however, with Sainsbury’s bucking the trend to post a 0.4 per cent increase in sales over the three month period. This was eclipsed by figures from Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl however which grew by 3.9, 27.5 and 21.7 per cent respectively.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins commented: “Heavy price-cutting to combat the discounters, coupled with deflation, is great news for consumers but increasingly problematic for the supermarkets, who are seeing less money going through the tills. The rise of the discounters seems to have hit Tesco, Asda and Morrisons the hardest. Their combined market share over the last year is down 2.1%, the exact figure the discounters’ has risen.

“The percentage of sales from items on promotion has remained at 32 per cent for another month, suggesting retailers are still committed to driving incremental sales through promotional activity when the market is in decline. It is, however, lower than the 35 per cent experienced this time last year.”

Tesco and Asda are both now staking all on the success of their seasonal advertising campaigns to inject some Christmas cheer into their bottom lines.

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