Research confirms Morrisons' surge

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The Independent Online

Alan Hansen and Lulu did the trick for Wm Morrison this Christmas, with its celebrity-backed advertising drive helping the supermarket group take market share from its rivals.

Morrisons was the pick of the four dominant players in the industry, boosting its market share of consumer spending the most over the past three months. Its share rose to 11.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to 27 January, up 11 per cent on last year, according to data released yesterday from market research company TNS Worldpanel.

Two of the Bradford-based group's larger rivals, Tesco and J Sainsbury, saw market share fall by 0.1 percentage points, while the UK's second-largest chain Asda crept up 0.1 percentage points. Tesco remains the dominant player in the industry, having secured a 31.4 per cent share of consumer spending.

The jump at Morrisons was driven by its 11 per cent rise in sales, almost double the average for the total grocery market. Edward Garner, director of research at TNS World panel said: "The relaunch advertising, [and] strong promotions, has borne fruit."

Morrisons launched an advertising campaign just before Christmas, with seven celebrities including Hansen, Lulu and Denise Van Outen. Chief executive Marc Bolland said the ads had "struck a chord with people" and had brought in new customers.

Elsewhere in the sector, the Co-ops and independent stores gave ground. In contrast, discount brands Aldi, Lidl and Iceland posted strong growth.

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