UK supermarkets post record holiday sales: Kantar

U.K. supermarkets largely fended off fears of a collapse in consumer spending over Christmas with only J Sainsbury PLC (SBRY.LN) suffering a fall in sales among larger grocers, according to figures from consultancy Kantar.

Kantar said Tuesday that over the 12 weeks to Dec. 30, British supermarkets posted record sales of 29.3 billion pounds ($37.4 billion). Sales were up 1.6% overall as lower inflation held back growth, despite consumers continuing to opt for premium ranges.

"Unlike its high street counterpart, the grocery market has been less affected by the move to online. Although e-commerce is growing–up 3.9% compared to this time last year–online grocery shopping is failing to attract new customers," Kantar’s Fraser McKevitt said.

Among the four largest supermarket chains, Walmart Inc.’s WMT, +1.18% Asda was the fastest growing, with sales up 0.7% compared to the prior year. Its proposed merger partner, Sainsbury’s, was hit by a 0.4% fall in sales.

Discount supermarket chains Lidl and Aldi took a record combined Christmas market share of 12.8%. While not included in Kantar’s market-share data, the consultancy noted that Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +3.44% grew sales of fast-moving consumer goods by 16% over the period.

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