Last week many of the multiples delivered their Xmas trading reports along with the Kantar Worldpanel’s view on the sectors 12 week performance. They report that grocery price inflation is 4.5% at the end of 2012.

Top performers in the run up to Christmas were the discount stores with Aldi reporting a 30% year on year increase for the 13 weeks to 23rd December! Lidl were up by 10.8% and Iceland by 9.7%. Up market supermarket Waitrose said like-for-like sales rose 5.4 per cent between 18 December and New Year’s Eve.

The major supermarket chains found trading more challenging. Tesco came out ‘top’ with UK like for like sales up 1.7% compared with 2011’s poor performance, but they still reported less sales than two years ago. Sainsburys however have reported a sales increase for both Christmases. Morrisons had a poor 6 weeks up to 30th December with like for like shrinking by 2.5%.

When food price inflation of 4.5% is taken into account the volume of goods sold has been impacted. Sainsburys claimed that they served more customers in the week before Christmas ever before. If their Melksham store is a fair example of the company then shoppers did not buy as much non grocery Christmas products as expected as they had a large display of reduced seasonal goods in the two weeks after the event.

Hard discounter Aldi spectacular performance was supported by the most memorable TV advertising campaign. Of the other TV campaigns Tesco’s stood out because of its change of style with the rest not making that much impact (on me at least).

Here are some key lessons that I have taken from the multiples trading statements.

From Aldi the key lessons are: be consistent with your marketing messages to your customers so that they know who you are and that you deliver what you say you will. Low price, limited range, slick no frills service.

From Tesco it was about a delivering on the promise of more staff and better money off promotions.

From Sainsburys it was trying to get customers to see Christmas as being more than just the 25th December and hammering on with their long term Price Match campaign.

From Morrisons, well the only thing I remember is the CEO pleading with Government to let them open longer on the final Sunday before Christmas and that didn’t work.

Its important to always review your performance and try and benchmark it against your peers and competitors.  If you haven’t done so already now is the time for you to review how your Christmas trading performed in 2012.



  • Did you under buy or over buy in any of your categories?
  • Was your sales floor layout effective, did you try different things that worked well?
  • Were your trading hours what your customers wanted?
  • Could you have trained your staff better?
  • Was your advertising and marketing effective?
  • Were there any unique circumstances that will not recur again?
  • Do the research now by asking your staff and customers about how easy they found your store to use last month and discover how they think you could have improved. Make your notes and add these thoughts into your plans for 2013.

How did you do over the festive season?  Let us know in the comments below