Mince pie sales soar as festive spend rises £1bn

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Sales at Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN), the U.K.'s No. 1 grocer by market share, grew by 3.1% in the 12 weeks ended December 31, the fastest pace it has recorded since June.

Sales rose by 16.8% at both German grocers, while Tesco is still the fastest growing Big Four supermarket, with revenue up 3.1% in the last 12 weeks before Christmas, according to the latest results from Kantar Worldpanel.

Morrisons was the first of the big four to report on Christmas trade.

Aldi and Lidl, which between them account for nearly 12pc of Britain's grocery market, both grew by 16.8pc, as they continued to open new stores at a rapid pace.

Kantar said that, across the grocery retailers, households shrugged off economic worries to spend an average £1,054 over the period.

The market share of up-market retailer Waitrose, a division of John Lewis Partnership PLC, stood at 5.2% in the 12 weeks ended December 31, as sales increased by 2.3% in, Kantar said. UK-wide inflation hit 3.1pc in November, the most recent month for which data is available from the Office for National Statistics.

"Shoppers parted with £747 million on December 22 alone, making the Friday before Christmas the busiest shopping day ever recorded".

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Shoppers continued to splash out despite there being fewer promotions this year, with only 36 per cent money spent on items that were on offer. For the 12 weeks ended December 30, Aldi's market share rose to 7.5% from 6.9% for the comparable period ended December 31, 2016, while Lidl's rose to 4.9% from 4.4%.

"They tend to lose a little market share compared to earlier in the year as many shoppers return to the more traditional supermarkets in search of old favourites". The combined market share of the two German supermarkets stood at 11.8%, up from 10.4% a year earlier, attracting almost one million additional households during the period, Kantar added.

Asda and Morrisons also saw their grocery market share figures decline by 0.2 per cent, to 15.3 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively.

Asda grew sales by 2.2 per cent, Morrisons recorded 2.1 per cent of growth while Sainsbury's was up two per cent. However, its market share fell by 0.2 percentage points year on year to 28% in the period. This is the fastest sales growth the retailer has seen since June, helped by a 6.4% increase in sales of standard Tesco own label.

But separate numbers from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) highlighted the starkly different picture for non-food stores, which saw their worst fall since 2009.

Morrisons beat forecasts on Tuesday for underlying Christmas sales, as premium products, online sales and competitive prices lured more shoppers into the fourth biggest supermarket group.

Ocado comfortably outpaced the online grocery market, increasing sales by 8.4 per cent to account for 1.3 per cent of the grocery market - a 0.1 per cent uptick.

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