British grocery inflation dips to 3.2%, says Kantar

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) - UK grocery price inflation fell for the 14th month in a row in April, partly driven by an increase in supermarkets' promotional activity, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Market researcher Kantar said annual grocery price inflation was 3.2% in the four weeks to April 14, versus 4.5% in the previous four week period.

Kantar said items bought on offer made up 29.3% of supermarket sales – the highest level outside of Christmas since June 2021.

"This emphasis on offers, coupled with falling prices in some categories like toilet tissues, butter and milk, has helped to bring the rate of grocery inflation down for shoppers at the till," Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Worldpanel by Kantar, said.

But he noted prices were still rising quickly in markets such as sugar and chocolate confectionery and chilled fruit juices and drinks.

Official UK data published last week showed overall inflation fell to 3.2% in March, driven by a slowdown in food inflation to 4%.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sought to take credit for more than halving inflation, although there has been little sign of an opinion poll boost for his struggling Conservative Party, which badly lags the opposition Labour Party ahead of an election expected this year.

Kantar said online player Ocado was again the fastest growing grocer in the 12 weeks to April 14, with a 12.5% growth in sales.

Market leader Tesco and No. 2 Sainsbury's saw sales growth of 5.9% and 6.8% respectively, both gaining market share year-on-year.

Discounters Lidl and Aldi saw sales growth of 9.1% and 2.8% respectively, though the market share of Aldi edged lower.

No. 3 player Asda was again the laggard, with sales down 0.4% and its market share down 60 basis points - an outcome that contrasted with the upbeat tone of its 2023 results published on Monday.

Kantar also noted total online grocery sales reached a share of 12.0% for the first time since July 2022.

UK supermarkets' market share and sales growth (%)

Market share Market share % change in

12 wks to 12 wks to sales

April 14 April 16 (yr-on-yr)

2024 2023

Tesco 27.4 27.0 5.9

Sainsbury's 15.3 14.9 6.8

Asda 13.4 14.0 -0.4

Aldi 10.0 10.1 2.8

Morrisons 8.7 8.7 3.8

Lidl 8.0 7.6 9.1

Co-operative 5.4 5.7 -0.1

Waitrose 4.5 4.5 3.7

Iceland 2.2 2.2 3.7

Ocado 1.9 1.7 12.5

Source: Kantar

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Ros Russell)