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John Naronha

How is the drop in Britain's grocery sales affecting the shares of the big four supermarket firms?

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Britain’s grocery sales dropped 0.5% year on year in the 12-weeks to 14th July 2019, according to the market research firm, Kantar. Sales declined across Britain’s big four supermarket group with Tesco (LON:TSCO), Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY), Asda (NYSE:WMT) and Morrisons (LON:MRW) reporting lower sales in the region of 2.0-2.6% individually as they lost market share to German-owned discount stores Aldi and Lidl, who reported sales growth of 6.7% and 7.0% respectively.

Based on Kantar’s review, while the heatwave last year heightened consumer demand for groceries with households shopping frequently and closer to home, this year people were making fewer trips to supermarkets leading to a sharp drop in sales. Likewise, consumer spending on alcohol dropped by about £75m this year, while sales of soft drinks and ice-cream fell by £56m and £55m respectively.

At 10.30am GMT, shares of three of Britain’s four largest supermarkets slid following the grocery sales report, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s slipping more than 2.0% to 229.70p and 202.50p respectively, while Morrisons was trading at 204.20p, down about 0.80% for the day. Asda, a subsidiary of Walmart, was seen trading with gains of about half a per cent at $113.35 in the US pre-market session.

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