Asda left trailing as Morrisons picks up in supermarket price war


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Asda is losing sales faster than its big three biggest rivals amid the supermarket price war, but Morrisons has increased market share for the first time in nearly four years.

Sales at Walmart-owned Asda were down by 3.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to 21 June, leaving the retailer with a 16.5 per cent share of the market, compared with 17.1 per cent last year. The figures from Kantar Worldpanel show in comparison that Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s sales were down 1.3 per cent each.

Tesco, still the UK’s biggest supermarket, continued to see its market share decline, albeit at a marginally slower rate, despite a wide range of initiatives from its chief executive Dave Lewis designed to bring shoppers back to its stores.

But at Morrisons, the new chief executive David Potts has quickly made his mark in boosting market share for the Bradford-based business, increasing it by 0.1 percentage point to 11 per cent.

Fraser McKevitt, the head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Morrisons has seen the largest sales increase among the big four retailers for the second month in a row, recording a sales growth of 0.6 per cent, which has been supported by an increase in online shopping.” He added: “While only a small increase against a weak 2014, this does represent the first market share gains made by Morrisons since December 2011.”

Discounters Aldi and Lidl also continued their march up the grocery league table – Aldi increased its sales by 15.4 per cent and Lidl by 9.1 per cent.

Tuesday also saw an update from the online grocer Ocado for the 24 weeks to 17 May.  Continuing investment in Ocado’s operations in the UK and in cutting prices to shoppers, led to slightly lower pre-tax profits of £7.2m, despite a 15.7 per cent rise in sales to £511.9m.

Earnings grew by 11.4 per cent to £38.2m.

In addition, its chief executive Tim Steiner insisted that the company was still on track to reveal its first overseas business partner this year and said that the move would transform the company’s outlook.

A note from Numis said: “In all, an encouraging update from Ocado, demonstrating that it can continue to build its UK retail operation.”

Ocado shares rose 15.9p to 445.9p.