Aldi overtakes Waitrose as discount sector flies

German discounter Aldi has overtaken Waitrose to become the UK’s sixth-largest supermarket chain, figures released today show.

Aldi increased sales by 16.8% in the 12 weeks to 29 March, according to the latest update from Kantar Worldpanel. That took its share of the market up to 5.3%, compared with 5.1% for upmarket Waitrose, which is owned by the John Lewis Partnership.

The privately-owned German upstart, now a favourite of the thrifty middle classes, has grown rapidly post the 2008 financial crisis as shoppers have kept a tight rein on their budgets and have been looking for simple value propositions as opposed to complex BOGOFs and promotions offered by the big supermarkets. Having leapfrogged Waitrose, it is now closing in on the Co-op, the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket chain, which is now less than one percentage point ahead of the German chain in terms of market share.

Waitrose’s sales rose 2.9%, a relatively strong performance in a market which expanded by just 1%. But Aldi wasby some way the top performer in a tough market where grocery prices fell by 2%.

Fellow discounter Lidl also saw strong growth, with sales up 12.1%, taking its market share to 3.7%. The two German grocery chains now have a combined market share of 9%, up from 5.4% only three years ago.

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