Business

Alcohol and soft drinks show strong growth in Christmas supermarket sales

Alcohol and soft drinks show strong growth in Christmas supermarket sales

Shares in British supermarket Morrisons rose almost 4 percent on Tuesday, after a new "luxury" range and cloud technology ordering system contributed to their best Christmas performance in seven years.

Among Britain's supermarket giants, Tesco led with a sales increased of 1.3 per cent, thanks to its performance within fresh food - its market share now sits at 28.2 per cent, Kantar's data showed.

Grocery inflation hit 0.2% in the 12-week period, according to Kantar Worldpanel, marking the end of deflation which ran for 30 consecutive periods from September 2014 to December 2016.

Fresh categories and beverage sales also contributed to the sales growth.

Strong December food sales were also evident in a British Retail Consortium survey, released overnight, which said a buoyant Christmas week boosted overall spending growth in the month to a year-on-year rate of 1.7%, up from 1.3% in November.

Aldi UK and Ireland chief executive Matthew Barnes said it was a "clear sign that more and more people are realising they can treat their families to products of a quality comparable to Waitrose and M&S at a fraction of the price by shopping with Aldi".

Morrisons said customers traded up for their festive fare, with its new Best range proving popular after it added another 100 premium products over Christmas.

Aldi's 12-week sales grew 12% to GBP1.68 billion, while Lidl's increased 7.5% to GBP1.23 billion.

Samsung's updated Notebook 9 is the new lightest 13-inch laptop
The graphics card in the larger model has yet to be confirmed, and our guess is that it'll house a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 inside. Samsung is getting into the increasingly crowded world of high-end gaming laptops with its new Samsung Notebook Odyssey .

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.

"The remarkable buoyancy in shoppers spending freely in the final two weeks of the year to enjoy the festivities was good news for retailers considering the consumer head winds expected in 2017 with the return of cost price inflation - after three years of deflation - plus the ongoing uncertainty about the impact of Brexit on United Kingdom grocery sales".

The group said it now expected a 2016-17 underlying profit before tax to be ahead of consensus in the range 330-340 million pounds ($401-$413 million), up from analysts' average forecast of 326 million pounds and the 302 million pounds reported in 2015-16.

Three of the Big 4 have lost out on market share this Christmas period, as the discounters continue to challenge their dominance.

The UK's big supermarket groups are now locked in the midst of a price war to combat the advance of the German-owned discount chains, Aldi and Lidl.

Less positively, the group has still not achieved a compelling rate of Internet growth (only a 0.6% like-for-like contribution at Christmas).

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


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