UK grocers' sales subdued as shoppers delay Christmas preparations

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LONDON (Reuters) – Total British grocery sales growth on a year-on-year basis slowed to 0.5% in the 12 weeks to Dec. 1 as shoppers delayed their Christmas preparations, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Market researcher Kantar said all of Britain’s big four supermarket groups recorded sales declines over the period and lost market share to the German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl.

“Amid the uncertainty of a (Dec. 12) general election, a lacklustre Black Friday and a wet autumn, shoppers have been delaying their Christmas preparations and are waiting to stock up on festive supplies,” Kantar said.

It said that on average consumers made one fewer visit to the shops over the past three months than this time last year.

Sales at market leader Tesco (L:) fell 0.8% over the period, while Sainsbury’s (L:), Asda (N:) and Morrisons (L:) saw sales declines of 1.1%, 1.9% and 2.9% respectively.

In contrast Aldi’s sales were up 6.2% and Lidl’s rose 9.3%, giving a combined market share of 14.1%.

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