British Hypermarkets Thrive, While Small Retailers Struggle

British Hypermarkets Thrive, While Small Retailers Struggle

Sales in British supermarkets picked up during the last two weeks of November, as shoppers turned their backs on convenience stores and the high street retailers in favor of larger purchases at larger, value-oriented hypermarkets, Nielsen reported Tuesday. 

Year-over-year growth at hypermarkets reached 6% during the period, while the smallest convenience outlets declined by almost 2% during the 12-week period.

In comparison, year-over-year growth in the British grocery sector stood at 3.2% during the 12 weeks ending 29 November, according to Nielsen.  Grocery multiples showed stronger growth (+5.6%) during the period.

“In order to save money shoppers are making less visits to grocery stores,” Mike Watkins, senior manager retailer services, Nielsen, noted.  “Nielsen has identified that virtually every major food retailer saw the number of visits per shopper fall in November versus a year ago and the big casualties are those retailers that people visit to do top up, small basket, and indulgence shops.”

According to Nielsen, there are exceptions to this trend.  Retailers like Morrisons and Asda, and value retailers like Iceland drew plenty of shoppers — and even showed accelerating sales in the most recent 12-week period. 


(by share of

grocery sales)

Retailers Share of Grocery Sales:

12 Weeks Ending

Dec. 1, 2007

Share of Grocery Sales:

12 Weeks Ending

Nov. 29, 2008

% Change:

Value Sales

1 Tesco 28.0% 28.0% 3.2%
2 Asda 15.1% 15.8% 7.7%
3 Sainsbury 14.2% 14.2% 3.6%
4 Morrisons 10.0% 10.6% 9.5%
5 Co-op 6.0% 5.9% 1.7%
6 Waitrose 3.4% 3.3% -0.9%
7 M&S 3.9% 3.7% -0.9%
8 Somerfield 3.5% 3.4% -1.3%
9 Iceland 1.6% 1.8% 13.2%
Source: The Nielsen Company (September 2 – December 1, 2007 and August 31 – November 29, 2008).

View the press release.