Tesco (TSCDY) , Britain's biggest retailer, is once again leading the country's fierce supermarket price, according to industry data released Tuesday, as Walmart's (WMT) Asda suffers yet another embarrassing slip in market share.
The U.K.'s biggest supermarket chain saw a year-on-year sales increase of 2.2% for the 12 weeks ended November 12, Kantar Worldpanel said, the fastest growth in three years and taking Tesco's market share 28.2% from 27.9%.
Tesco stock surged in early London trading, rising 3.47% at 213 pence each at 9:45 am GMT to within touching distance of its 52-week high of 216 pence each. The turnaround in fortune for the company vindicates CEO Dave Lewis's turnaround plan.
Tesco, which dominated British retailing, has been rocked by an accounting scandal in 2014 and in 2013 was found to be selling beef products containing horsemeat.
"Tesco's 2.2% growth is a considerable improvement on the numbers it was delivering this time last year, and indeed in," Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel said in a statement.
Tesco was the only supermarket of the so-called big four - Sainsburys (JSAIY) , Asda and Morrison's - that saw sales growth in the 12 weeks.
Asda experienced the weakest growth and saw sales fall 2.4%, sending market share down to 15.5% from 16.4% last year. An embarrassing fall, cementing its position as Walmart's worst performing division. Analysts were expecting big changes from Asda's new CEO Sean Clarke, but those changes are yet to funnel through to sales and market share. (Brian Sozzi of Real Money, our premium site for active traders, writes that Target (TGT) is having its share of problems as well. Click here to see what he means.)
Sainsbury's sales decline 0.7% throughout the period. Its shares were up 3.2% to 244 pence each in London trading.
Low cost supermarkets Aldi and Lidl continued their charge on the big four, but sales grew at their lowest rate since 2011. Aldi saw sales grow by 10.2% in the 12 weeks, and also saw the biggest increase in footfall compared with other stores. Lidl's sales were up 6.1%.
The data also show that grocery prices have continued to fall although at a slower pace, and on a like-for-like basis were still 0.5% compared with last year.
Supermarkets are engaged in a fierce price war but inflationary pressure continues due to the fall in the pound could kill this strategy. Britain's headline inflation rate however fell unexpectedly last month, data released today by the Office for National Statistics found. Annual inflation fell to 0.9% in October, after hitting 1% in September.
Kantar Worldpanel predicts prices will increase in December, "unless retailers choose Christmas to unleash a new round of price cuts."A number of companies have already passed on higher prices to supermarkets due to the fall in the pound since Brexit. PepsiCo ( PEP) raised the price of its Walkers brand potato chips and Mondelez ( MDLZ) has cut the weight of its Toblerone chocolate bar yet kept the price the same due to the increase in price of raw materials.