Morrisons, Britain's fourth largest supermarket, reported weaker-than-expected Christmas sales on Tuesday with growth slowing at both its retail and wholesale businesses, partly reflecting market share gains by discounters Aldi and Lidl.
In turnaround mode since 2013 after the German owned discounters encroached on its low cost turf, Morrisons said it had seen particularly weak demand at its stores in November, although trading improved in December.
Britain's supermarkets including market leader Tesco , Sainsbury's and Asda have been forced to cut prices after Aldi and Lidl lured cautious customers with their simple and cheap offering.
Market share data released by research groups Kantar and Nielsen on Tuesday showed Walmart's Asda achieved the strongest sales growth of the big four supermarkets in the Christmas quarter, but all lost market share to the two smaller challengers.
"Going into November there was just a sense that customers were a bit more cautious, a bit more careful, with their spending," Morrisons Chief Executive David Potts told reporters.
"A feeling of uncertainty in the country may have led to some of that feeling," he said.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.