Co-op beats major supermarkets with rising sales

Co-operative logo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Co-operative was the most visited supermarket compared with its rivals

The Co-operative has beaten sales growth at its major supermarket rivals for the first time in five years.

The Co-op's sales grew by 1.4% in the 12 weeks to 31 January, according to research company Kantar Worldpanel.

People shopped there most frequently, at an average 19 times over the period, compared with a market average of 11 visits.

In contrast, Sainsbury's was the only major chain to report rising sales, up 0.6%.

Revenues at Tesco fell by 1.6% over the last three months, although Kantar said it was the supermarket group's best reading since last September.

At Morrisons, sales shrank by 2.2%, while at Asda, which is owned by US chain Walmart, revenue fell by 3.8%.

Sainsbury's, which recently made a £1.3bn bid for Argos-owner Home Retail Group, marginally increased its share of the UK market to 16.8%, ahead of Asda's 16.2% share and Morrisons with 10.8%. Tesco remains the market leader with 28.5%.

The Co-op maintained its 5.9% share of the British market.

Kantar said it was the first time since 2011 that the Co-op had surpassed its non-discounter rivals in terms of sales.

The retail-to-funerals group, the UK's largest mutual, has been beset with problems in recent years, most notably at the Co-operative Bank, which is now majority owned by bondholders, although Co-op Group retains a 20% stake.

The discounters, Lidl and Aldi, both saw double-digit revenue growth, up 18.7% and 13.7% respectively. At the same time, Waitrose's sales were up 0.1% for the three months.

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