Asda loses more market share

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The Independent Online

Supermarket Asda lost market share for the fifth month in a row as it continued to come under pressure from its three main rivals, figures showed today.

The Wal-Mart-owned group saw its share of the sector slip to 16.8% from 16.9% in the latest Kantar Worldpanel grocery market study.

Plunging food price inflation is dragging sales lower for many of the major players, but Asda has been the worst affected in recent months.

It revealed its first sales fall in four years earlier this month, with a 0.3% drop in like-for-like revenues for the three months to March.

Rivals have so far been faring better despite easing sales growth, with Tesco holding on to its market share of 30.6% in the 12 weeks to May 16.

Sainsbury's claimed a greater slice of the sector, up from 16.1% to 16.3%, as did Morrisons with a hike to 11.8% from 11.5% a year earlier.

Edward Garner, communications director at Kantar Worldpanel, said Asda's incoming chief executive Andy Clarke will take on the immediate task of reviving sales growth to its former glory.

He said: "As Andy Clarke takes the helm, there has been much speculation about what the new chief executive will do to turn around Asda's fortunes.

"We expect him to focus on restoring the clarity of Every Day Low Prices as well as reviewing the implementation of range rationalisation."

But Kantar added that Asda's focus on value may be working against the company, with Tesco reporting strong growth of its Finest range and ongoing strength at premium retailer Waitrose.

John Lewis-owned Waitrose saw further market share gains, to 4.1% from 3.8%, as its recent resurgent performance showed no sign of abating.