November 14, 2017 / 8:49 AM / a year ago

UK grocery inflation hits highest level in four years - Kantar Worldpanel

LONDON (Reuters) - British grocery inflation hit its highest level since November 2013 in the past quarter, driving supermarkets’ sales growth, industry data showed on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO - A woman shops at a Sainsbury's store in London, Britain December 3, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said grocery inflation was 3.4 percent in the 12 weeks to Nov. 5, with prices rising fastest in products such as butter, fish and cola and falling in only a few products, including crisps and fresh poultry.

It said that over the course of a year, this could add 143.7 pounds to a typical family’s grocery bill.

Official data released on Tuesday showed overall British consumer price inflation held at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in October, its highest level in five-and-a-half years.

Kantar Worldpanel said overall UK grocery sales increased in value by 3.2 percent year on year in the 12-week period.

“Volume sales have increased by less than 1 percent, meaning it’s price rises keeping supermarket performance buoyant,” Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

Of Britain’s big four grocers, Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), the No. 2 player, was the best performer for the first time since April 2016, with a sales rise of 2.6 percent.

Sales at market leader Tesco (TSCO.L) increased 2.3 percent. Morrisons (MRW.L) and Asda (WMT.N) followed with rises of 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

However, all of the big four still lost market share to German discounters Aldi and Lidl, which continue to open lots of new space.

Lidl was Britain’s fastest growing supermarket for the fifth straight period with sales up 15.1 percent. Rival Aldi’s sales rose 13.1 percent.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Costas Pitas and Edmund Blair

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