UK grocery inflation fell for the 15th month in a row in May to hit its lowest level since October 2021, industry data showed on Tuesday. Market researcher Kantar said annual grocery price inflation was 2.4% in the four weeks to May 12, down from 3.2% in the previous four week period. But it noted that prices were still rising quickly for products such as chilled fruit juices and drinks, sugar confectionery and chocolate confectionery.

Official UK data published on April 17 showed consumer price inflation fell to 3.2% in March, driven by a slowdown in food inflation to 4%. Inflation data for April is due to be published on Wednesday. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sought to take credit for more than halving inflation, although there has been little sign of an opinion poll boost for his struggling Conservative Party, which badly lags the opposition Labour Party ahead of an election expected this year. Kantar said take-home grocery sales rose by 2.9% over the four week period year-on-year.

Over the 12 weeks to May 12, online player Ocado was again the fastest growing grocer, with sales growth of 12.4%. Market leader Tesco and No. 2 Sainsbury's both saw sales growth of 5.6% and both gained market share. Discounters Lidl and Aldi saw sales growth of 9.4% and 2.2% respectively. No. 3 player Asda was again the laggard, with sales down 2.0% and its market share down 80 basis points on the year. Kantar noted that with the Euro 2024 soccer tournament and the Olympic Games on the horizon, the summer months could see sales increases for supermarkets, particularly in categories like alcohol.

"Especially if it’s paired with warmer temperatures, this year’s summer of sport could deliver a welcome boost for the sector," said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar. UK supermarkets' market share and sales growth (%) Market share Market share % change in 12 wks to 12 wks to sales May 12 2024 May 14 2023 (yr-on-yr) Tesco 27.6 27.1 5.6 Sainsbury's 15.1 14.8 5.6 Asda 13.1 13.9 -2.0 Aldi 10.0 10.1 2.2 Morrisons 8.6 8.7 3.1 Lidl 8.1 7.7 9.4 Co-operative 5.4 5.7 -0.6 Waitrose 4.6 4.6 2.8 Iceland 2.3 2.3 4.2 Ocado 1.8 1.7 12.4 Source: Kantar (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Christina Fincher)