Retail sales rise ahead of key trading period

Consumers are making more premium choices when they buy alochol splashing out on expensive options

Britain's fastest growing grocer now sits just outside the "Big Four" - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - with a market share of 6.9pc, up from 6.2pc during the same period previous year, according to figures published today by Kantar Worldpanel.

Tesco, still the UK's biggest grocer by market share, grew sales 2.5% in the 12 weeks ended December 3, to £7.61bn. Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.6pc - the highest level since 2013.

Both Lidl and Aldi have ramped up their drinks offerings in the run-up to the festive period, with the former marketing a "hangover-free" Prosecco, and Aldi introducing its own wine advent calendar for £49.99, alongside a Prosecco Jeroboam retailing at £30.

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Collectively, the "Big Four" saw a growth of 1.9% for the 12 weeks, resulting in the ninth consecutive period for increased sales for the major retailers. Meanwhile Morrisons' market share fell to 10.6 per cent, despite a sales boost of 1.4 per cent year on year.

"If we see a similar pattern in 2017, Friday 22 December is likely to win out as the grocers enjoy not only the biggest shopping day of 2017, but the most successful ever recorded". Morrison Supermarkets´ market share dropped to 10.6% from 10.8%, as sales increased by 1.4% to £2.87bn. "Internet specialist Ocado grew ahead of the online market during the latest quarter".

Alcohol sales are on the rise thanks in-part to the "premiumisation" of the UK's off-trade drinks industry, Kantar analyst Fraser McKevitt told the drinks business earlier this year.

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