Aldi, Lidl lead in Christmas sales growth: Kantar

According to Neilsen retail data, confectionery (+9.5%), alcohol (+5.7%), deli/cheese/meats (+5.6%) and soft drinks (+4.3%) all returned to positive sales growth for four-weeks to December 31, making it the best Christmas for the multiples in four years.

The BRC report said, over the three-months to December, food sales increased by 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and were up 2.4% on a total basis, well ahead of the 12-month total average growth of 1.0%.

Tesco's recent sales revival continued with an increase of 1.3% particularly helped by its performance within fresh food.

Aldi and Lidl's premium lines also powered strong growth for them during the period, compared to the previous festive season, said McKevitt.

"Morrisons, whose overall sales were held back in 2016 by the impact of a number of store closures, marked a strong start to the year with growth of 1.2 per cent - its first period of growth since June 2015".

"This Christmas we made further improvements to the customer shopping trip", said chief executive David Potts.

Morrison is the first listed United Kingdom grocer to disclose how it fared over the crucial Christmas shopping period and its better-than-expected sales are an early indication that Britons shrugged aside economic uncertainty when planning their holiday feasts.

Morrisons also said their new "Best" range, a "luxury" range aimed at a similar market to Tesco's "Finest" is already proving very popular, with over half of customer baskets including at least one "Best" item. Analysts have predicted an underlying pre-tax profit of £326 million ($395 million) for the year, but Morrisons says the figure is now likely to be between £330 million and £340 million.

Its sales were also helped by easing food price deflation, with prices down 0.2% during the Christmas period. Shoppers spent £480 million more at the tills than in 2015, leading to record sales for the Christmas period.

Aldi, the German-owned discount supermarket, saw sales at its British business rise over 15 percent in December compared to the same month in 2015, boosted by strong demand for its higher end products and low-cost festive vegetables.

Meanwhile, supermarkets enjoyed a record Christmas with sales up by 1.8%, the fastest growth since June 2014.

Shares in Morrisons have now risen by 10.25p up to 247.65.

  • Eleanor Harrison