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Premium own label set to fly this Christmas

Premium own label lines are set to record their highest ever sales figures over Christmas, the latest data from market analyst Kantar Worldpanel has predicted.

Shopper spending on top-tier own-label ranges rose in the 12 weeks to 4 December amid otherwise sluggish year-on-year sales of just 0.7%, according to Kantar Worldpanel analyst Kevin McKevitt. Spending on these premium range, which includes Tesco Finest and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, was 13% higher than the same period last year, with 6.3% of own label purchases came from premium lines, ahead of the 5.7% recorded last year.

Around 88% of consumers were buying into these ranges and they are now included in 12% of shopping trips, Kantar said.

“Over Christmas it’s likely that premium lines will record their highest ever sales figures as even more shoppers trade up to treat their loved ones,” McKevitt added.

Meanwhile both promotional activity and prices continued to fall overall, despite widespread anticipation of higher prices.

“Shoppers are yet to feel the pinch of rising inflation, with a typical basket of everyday groceries 0.1% cheaper than this time last year,” McKevitt pointed out, with spending on promotions also down from nearly 40% last year to 36.9% this year.

“Promotional activity has dipped across all five of the biggest retailers, reflecting ongoing efforts to simplify shopping and offer more of an everyday low pricing model, which relies far less heavily on promotions.”

However there was evidence that that some categories – including beer – were starting to see prices creep up. Beer prices rose rose 2.1%, McKevitt said.

Among the stand-out own label performers were Morrisons, whose ‘The Best’ range saw sales rise by 35%, and Asda whose Special Selected range also grew by 15% – but it was not enough to boost overall sales. Asda’s sales fell  4.7% – although this was a slower rate than previous months – and Morrisons 1.4% over the period, due to its smaller store estate, despite its highest ever online sales. Sainsbury’s also recorded sluggish sales, down 0.6%, causing its market share to slide two percentage points to 16.5%.

However, Aldi continued is strong performance, boosted by its Extra Special range, being the only retailer recording double-digit growth in the 12 week period. Sales rose 10% year on year, boosting its market share to 6.2%, up 0.6 percentage points.

Iceland also continued its growth with a 8.6% uplift, ahead of Lidl’s 5.7%, while The Co-op also saw sales rises of 2% and Waitrose of 1.1%.

Tesco’s also had a successful quarter with volumes sales growing faster than value sales. “Its value sales remain ahead of the market, increasing by 1.6% year on year as the retailer grew its market share to 28.3%,” McKevitt said.

The Symbol groups also recorded a tail-off in sales falling 7.8% compared to the same period last year.


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