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Lidl by Lidl, shoppers switch to the discount supermarkets.

SHOPPERS have been flocking to discount supermarkets as the consumer spending slowdown tightens its grip on household budgets, figures showed yesterday.

Aldi enjoyed year-on-year sales growth of nearly 19% in the 12 weeks to May 18, market researcher TNS Worldpanel said, while cutprice rival Lidl saw takings rise by just under 10%.

In a further sign of a shopping shift, price-focused chains Farm Foods and Iceland also posted double digit rises in sales during the period.

At the same time, heavyweights such as Tesco and Sainsbury's saw dips in their share of the sector's annual pounds 120bn market.

TNS' data showed the clear winner in terms of sales growth during the period was Aldi, whose till roll rose 18.9% year-on-year to pounds 577m.

Its market share also improved to 2.8%, from 2.5%.

TNS' director of research Edward Garner said: "This is virtually solely fuelled by new shoppers visiting the stores rather than existing shoppers spending more."

He added that Germanowned Aldi had been investing heavily in new stores, boasting more than 300 in the UK at the moment.

"This investment is being rewarded with strong growth in the current climate," Mr Garner said. Next best performer in terms of sales growth was Iceland, whose takings grew 12.2% to pounds 352m.

The chain's market share also improved, up 0.1% to 1.7%.

Farm Foods saw sales break through the pounds 100m barrier during the period, rising 10.7%. And Lidl's sales were 9.6% ahead at pounds 478m.

Despite the shifting shopping patterns, supermarkets still enjoyed strong growth in grocery sales, up 6.6% overall.

Tesco remained far and away the sector leader despite its market share dipping 0.2% to 31.1%. The giant's tills rang up pounds 6.4bn of sales during the period, 6% better year-on-year, TNS said.

Second-placed Asda saw its market share rise to 16.9% from 16.7%, with sales up 7.6%, while the share of nextin-line Sainsbury's dipped 0.3% to 16%. Morrisons saw its share rise to 11.4% from 11.2%, with sales 8.7% ahead, continuing the retailer's inroads into the UK's cutthroat grocery sector.

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Takings are on the rise at discount supermarkets like Lidl
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 29, 2008
Words:372
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