Waitrose suffers a Christmas nightmare as shoppers stop for rivals Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer
Waitrose faces a Christmas nightmare as shoppers bleed at rival supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer.
The chain, which is owned by John Lewis, saw sales fall 1.9 percent to £1.4 billion in the three months to October 30, according to market research group Kantar.
Sales have been declining for nearly a year and a half, pushing Waitrose’s share of the UK supermarket market to just 4.7 percent. A year ago it was 5.1 percent.
According to market research group Kantar. Waitrose saw sales fall 1.9% to £1.4bn in the three months to 30 October
Waitrose was one of only two grocers to experience a decline in sales this quarter. The other was Morrisons, who has been struggling since last year’s disastrous private equity takeover.
Morrisons, which lost its position as the UK’s fourth largest grocer in September, saw sales fall 4.6 percent in the three months to the end of October to £2.7 billion.
Other major grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda – managed to grow sales during the quarter, despite an attack from Aldi and Lidl.
The German discounters have picked up millions of customers who want to reduce the cost of a weekly store while living standards are under pressure.
Tesco’s sales rose 3.1 percent to £8.2 billion, Sainsbury’s sales rose 3.3 percent to £4.5 billion and Asda sales rose 5.3 percent to £4.3 billion .
Aldi was the fastest growing grocer over the period, with sales rising 22.7 per cent to £2.8 billion, so it now accounts for 9.2 per cent of the UK supermarket market. And Lidl’s sales rose 21.5 percent to £2.2 billion, giving it a 7.2 percent share of the market.
Kantar’s Fraser McKevitt said: “As economic forecasters warn of a potential recession, it’s worth reflecting on how much the supermarket landscape has changed since the 2008 financial crash.
‘We see an increase in the market share of the discounters Aldi and Lidl, which together now amount to 16.4 percent, compared to 4.4 percent 14 years ago.’
Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black said Waitrose’s declining sales are “particularly concerning” at this time of year.
He said: ‘For Christmas you think Waitrose would fit in with a group of people who want to treat themselves and buy something special.’
And Black pointed out that sales fell even as food prices rose 14.7 percent, meaning Waitrose saw a huge drop in aggregate demand.
Black said it seems like M&S and Sainsbury’s are ‘eating Waitrose’s lunch’.
And he pointed to ‘operational challenges’ at Waitrose, which have left the shelves empty.
The Sunday Times reported that Waitrose has been plagued by product shortages since the failed introduction of an inventory management system. The enterprise resource planning system has corrupted its data.
But Waitrose boss James Bailey hit back yesterday, telling the Mail: ‘We are no better or worse than the competition. Do we want things to get better? Yes, of course we would.
“But everything I’ve seen says we have about the same availability as everyone else.”