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Discounters Increase Share of Supermarket Sales - Kantar

By Peter Evans LONDON--Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl, as well as Asda, saw their market share improve in the 12 weeks to Aug. 5 as customers continued to seek cheaper goods to make their money go further. At the other end of the spectrum, upmarket chains Waitrose and J Sainsbury PLC (SBRY.LN) also increased their share of the U.K. market, reflecting the consumer trend for saving up for special occasions, according to figures released Tuesday by Kantar, which monitors the grocery purchasing habits of 25,000 demographically representative U.K. households. Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN), the U.K.'s biggest supermarket chain, continued to lose ground to rivals, although at a slower rate than in previous periods. Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (MRW.LN), the U.K.'s fourth-largest food retailer by sales, again lost market share. Overall, grocery sales rose 3.9% from the same period last year. "It's too early to attribute improved sales to the Olympics, however, the increased market growth rate coincides with the opening week of London 2012 and the better weather in July," said Fraser McKevitt, a retail analyst at Kantar. "Consumers are still seeking economy products and retailers are reflecting this demand in their store offerings," Mr. McKevitt added. Tesco's market share fell to 30.9% from 31% a year earlier, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)-owned Asda Group Ltd.'s share increased to 17.4% from 17%. Sainsbury's share increased to 16.5% from 16.4%, and Morrison's market share fell to 11.7% from 11.9%. Write to Peter Evans at peter.evans@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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