Lidl gained 1.3m British shoppers at Christmas amid living costs crisis

Discount supermarket’s sales rise by a quarter year on year in four weeks to 25 December

Lidl gained 1.3 million British shoppers in the Christmas period compared with a year earlier as the supermarket benefited from people cutting back on spending.

The German-owned chain said the Friday before Christmas was its busiest ever day as sales rose by a quarter compared with the previous year as shoppers switched from other supermarkets in greater numbers.

Discount supermarkets have experienced strong sales for months as people favour cheaper items amid high inflation and a squeeze on household finances from energy bills.

Customers switched £63m in spending to Lidl from other supermarkets in the month up to Christmas Day, triple the rate of the year before, according to data published last week by Kantar, which tracks grocery market share. The same data showed that Lidl’s sales were up by 24.5% year on year in the four weeks to 25 December.

Lidl’s market share increased from 6.2% in January 2022 to 7.2% in the three months up to Christmas Day, according to Kantar. That put it just behind its rival German discounter Aldi as Britain’s sixth biggest supermarket chain. During that period the shares of spending for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons all fell.

The cost of living crisis has been described as a big factor behind that shift, with many households looking to trade down to limit the effect of rising prices. Annual food price inflation in the UK reached 13.3% in December, according to the British Retail Consortium – the highest since at least 2005 when those records began.

Lidl GB has 28,000 employees and 950 stores in England, Scotland and Wales. The company is owned by the Schwarz Group, which has 360,000 employees and 12,000 stores across 31 countries.

Ryan McDonnell, the Lidl GB chief executive, said: “Every week of the year we are seeing more customers coming through our doors, switching spend to Lidl from the traditional supermarkets.”

The discount strategy was “as relevant now as it ever has been”, he added.

Lidl is expanding warehouses in Belvedere, Kent, and Bridgend, south Wales, as well as opening a new facility in Luton, Bedfordshire, as it looks to keep growing its share of the market.

The chain said the negroni sbagliato trend – where sparkling wine replaces gin and carbonated water in the classic negroni – helped to fuel sales of prosecco.


Jasper Jolly

The GuardianTramp

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