Waitrose and discounters winning wine wars

20 March, 2015

Waitrose and the discounters have been the biggest winners in still wine over the past year, significantly outpacing rivals’ sales and snatching their customers.

Tesco suffered the worst sales across all the supermarkets as shoppers switched to other retailers, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures.

The still wine market saw value sales increase by 3.6% in the 52 weeks to February 1, 2015, while in the past 12 weeks sales were up 4.7% on the same period last year.

The discounters have grown by 24% over the 52-week period, which has slowed to 15.2% in the last 12 weeks.

Waitrose also put in a star performance, with sales rising by 9.6% over 52 weeks, and accelerating to 27.1% in the last 12 weeks.

The Co-operative grabbed the next strongest sales boost, up 6.1% over the year, followed by Morrisons (5.5%) and Asda (4.9%).

But the data shows a stark contrast with Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which trail considerably.

Although Sainsbury’s is still showing growth in its sales performance compared to last year, it experienced a rapid decline, going from a 3.5% rise over the year to a more modest 0.8% for the last 12 weeks.

Tesco is the only supermarket that has consistently experienced a decline throughout the year, as sales plummeted by 5.3%.

In the last 12 weeks it arrested some of the decline, with sales down just 4.2%, but it has caused a significant gap to open up and signs show that is set to widen.

Tesco has lost customers to rival supermarkets, but is also struggling due to customers buying less per trip because of its decision to reduce multibuy offers.

The research shows Tesco is losing most of its customers to Aldi and Lidl, though they are also migrating to other retailers, in particular Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

In contrast, Asda has driven growth by selling more wine to existing shoppers, as has Waitrose, which also won new custom.

According to Kantar, a smaller number of households are buying wine, affecting Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative the hardest overall.

Shoppers began to return to buying wine in the second half of the year, but Sainsbury’s – like Tesco – has continued to struggle with declining shopper penetration.

Kantar said: “Many of Sainsbury’s lapsed wine shoppers have dropped out of the wine market entirely, but those who are still buying wine have increased their spend in Tesco and the discounters.

“Over the Christmas period the wine category performed much better with Morrisons, Waitrose and the discounters all growing through increased shopper numbers.

“The hard discounters and Waitrose have been the strongest performing retailers as they have gained new shoppers and won switched spend from their supermarket competitors.”

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