Shoppers spent an extra £1bn at supermarkets at the end of 2017 | City & Business | Finance - World Big News

Shoppers spent an extra £1bn at supermarkets at the end of 2017 | City & Business | Finance

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Market share data from analyst Kantar Worldpanel showed the average household spent a record £1,054 on groceries over the period as supermarket sales increased in value by 3.8 per cent.

The spending splurge, including a record shopping day on December 22 when takings reached £747million, came despite the lowest level of promotional activity at Christmas since 2009.

Tesco was the fastest-growing of the “big four” supermarkets with 3.1 per cent growth but Morrisons also beat expectations with 2.8 per cent higher like-for-like sales in the 10 weeks to January 7.

Growth hit 3.7 per cent for the last six weeks. German rivals Lidl and Aldi collectively attracted nearly one million extra households as they both increased sales by 16.8 per cent from the previous year.

Morrisons, which has now delivered more than two years of underlying sales growth, cited strong sales of premium foods and children’s clothes as it kept a lid on prices despite rising costs on many commodities.

The number of transactions increased by 2.3 per cent as an automated ordering system helped improve availability and stock levels and more tills were open.

Online sales were up by more than 10 per cent as it started delivering to more parts of the country and its wholesale business was boosted by supplying tobacco to McColl’s stores after the collapse of wholesaler Palmer & Harvey.

It has begun supplying the convenience chain with own-label items under the Safeway brand, which Morrisons owns.

Its investment in pricing meant the company is not upgrading its annual profit forecast of £371million.

Morrisons shares rose 5¼p to 232¼p. Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “We were able to differentiate in range, value and service enough for increasing numbers of customers to choose Morrisons.

“The hard work and friendliness of our colleagues continues to be a key factor in delivering our strengthening performance.