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M&S Becomes Nation’s Fastest Growing Supermarket


Marks & Spencer was the fastest growing food retailer in the country in the three months to December 4, NielsenIQ figures revealed this week.

The brick-and-mortar grocer saw sales increase 9.1% year-over-year, topping Aldi and Lidl, data showed.

Aldi saw sales growth of 4.6% over the period, while Lidl saw sales increase 8.3%. M&S, Aldi and Lidl were the only three grocers to see their sales increase compared to figures for the same period last year.

Growth: Marks & Spencer was the nation’s fastest growing food retailer in the three months to December 4, NielsenIQ figures show

Tesco was the top performer of the Big Four, with sales falling 0.7% outperforming Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, which recorded declines of 4.6%, 4.2% and 5.6% respectively during the period.

Last month, M&S, which also sells clothing and housewares, beat first-half profit guidance and improved its earnings outlook for the second time this year, sending its action soaring on bets as the one of Britain’s most elusive turnarounds may finally materialize.

Shares of M&S listed on the FTSE 100 have risen more than 66% in the past year, but are down 0.17% or 0.40 pence to 228.40 pence at present.

NielsenIQ said total grocery sales fell 2.5% year-on-year in the four weeks leading up to December 4.

But, he said spending had increased, with sales falling just 0.9% in the first week of December.

The research group believes Britons will spend around £ 6.8 billion in supermarkets in the fortnight to December 24.

He said UK shoppers were looking to afford more high-end and higher-value items this Christmas, with the average basket value 2.6% higher this year.

Sales: Aldi sales growth figures were lower than M&S in recent weeks, data shows

Mike Watkins, Head of Distribution and Business Analysis, NielsenIQ UK, said: “For one in three households, good availability, along with low prices, are the most important factors in deciding where to buy.

He added: “While our data may show that the performance of the Big Four supermarkets is weaker, we must remember that this goes against strong benchmarks last year when the country was in lockdown.”

Zara and H&M are doing well

Outside of the grocery world, two mainstays of the street, Zara and H&M, have performed well in recent months.

Sales of the two fashion giants are back to pre-pandemic levels or better, as the world’s two largest fashion retailers benefit from a recovery in demand despite supply chain challenges.

Spain’s Inditex, the world’s largest fashion retailer, said constant currency sales rose 10% from 2019 levels in the quarter to the end of October, and continued at that rate through ‘as of December 10, in a context of strong demand from online shoppers.

On the rise: Outside of the grocery world, two mainstays of the street, Zara and H&M, have performed well in recent months

He said online sales for the first nine months of his fiscal year were up 124% from the same period in 2019, and he expected them to be more than a quarter of the total. throughout the year.

“The recovery continues to accelerate,” Inditex capital markets director Marcos Lopez said in a statement.

Inditex, whose brands also include Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull & Bear, manufactures more than half of its products near its base in Spain and delivers them to consumers faster than its competitors, sparing it the worst of the crisis in Spain. the supply chain.

Inditex is embarking on a change of management, with Marta Ortega, a daughter of the billionaire founder of the company Amancio Ortega, taking the presidency next April.

Swedish group H&M said sales in local currencies were at pre-pandemic levels from September through November.

H&M said its net sales were around £ 4.7 billion for the three months ending in late November.

Shares of Inditex and H&M fell around 3% at the start of trading, with the resurgence of coronavirus cases linked to the Omicron variant darkening the Christmas trading picture.

RBC analyst Richard Chamberlain said: “The main short-term risk that we see for Inditex is further restrictions on stores and travel flows due to the Omicron variant, particularly in the southern part of the world. ‘Europe.”

He believes Inditex makes around 15 percent of sales at stores located in major city centers that rely heavily on tourism.

How busy are UK stores now?

Amid the surge of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, footfall in UK retail centers fell 1.1% last week, compared to the previous week, according to Springboard findings.

As of December 10, face masks have been mandatory across England in most indoor public places, while working from home where possible advice was reintroduced on December 13.

Shopping streets saw footfall drop 2.7% last week, while malls and shopping parks saw footfall increase 1.1% and 0.04% respectively, Springboard said.

But, according to separate research, the last three months of 2021 could see the health of the retail sector end the year in the strongest form it has been since before the pandemic.

According to the latest retail health assessment by members of the KPMG / Ipsos Retail think tank, with two weeks remaining in the quarter and concerns about the Omicron variant continue, consumers will continue to spend their time spending their money. way until Christmas, ending the year in good health. for what could be a tough New Year.

However, while KPMG / RTT believes consumers will still be spending large sums on Christmas, it noted that growth in the last quarter had slowed slightly following a strong third quarter, “indicating a downward path to the end. ‘approaching 2022 “.

What’s the next step for retailers?

Many buyers will feel financial pressure in the New Year as the cost of living skyrockets. The uncertainty on the path of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has added an additional layer of complexity when it comes to predicting how retailers will fare next year.

Paul Martin, UK Retail Head of KPMG said: “Continued consumer demand is absolutely vital as we head into the new year to offset the rising costs that retailers are likely to experience. for a while and to keep the industry healthy.

And after? Paul Martin, UK Retail Manager for KPMG said: “Continued consumer demand is absolutely vital as the New Year approaches.”

“Retailers have worked hard to manage the factors that were under their control over the past two years and adapt to the changing environment, but there are many macroeconomic factors beyond their control that could hit the industry hard. next year.

“Given the current situation of Covid, it is highly likely that the demand that has dampened retailers in recent quarters will wane and the broader macroeconomic picture could also play against the Retail Health Index in Q1. -22.

“It wouldn’t take much for the second and third quarters to deteriorate as well if consumers choose to sit on savings to weather the storm.”

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