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August 'fourth month in a row' that food sales fell

Major supermarkets such as Tesco and Morrisons have seen their market shares eaten away by discounters like Aldi and Lidl as well as cheap deals to eat out at pubs or cafes.

August was the fourth month in a row in which food sales had fallen in both the like-for-like and total measures, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG report.

The food sector remains in a state of disruption with the share of the 'big four' being challenged on many fronts after a 15-year reign.

The like-for-like decline shows the battle is being fought via the prices on the shelves, but the war may be won by those grocers best able to adhere to brand values to retain customer loyalty.

– KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale

Supermarket price wars keep pressure on grocers

Supermarket price wars kept grocers under intense pressure last month, despite the rest of the retail sector growing in August, according to the latest figures released.

Supermarket price wars kept grocers under intense pressure in August. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The British Retail Consortium and KPMG survey saw like-for-like retail sales lift 1.3% on the back of stronger clothing and footwear last month, with total sales jumping to 2.7%.

However, food sales fell by 1.6% over the quarter, the sharpest decline since November 2009, while like-for-like sales also slipped 3.6% over the last three months.

M&S blames website as sales fall again

Marks & Spencer has blamed website "teething problems" as the chain recorded three straight years of quarterly declines.

While food sales grew by 1.7%, the retailers homeware and clothing division registered a 1.5% fall in like-for-like sales - its 12th quarter in a row of declining sales.

M&S has blamed its website for a drop in sales. Credit: PA

Overall, the group's total revenues for the period grew 2.3%.

"We have seen a continued improvement in clothing, although as anticipated the settling in of the new M&S.com site has had an impact on sales," chief executive Marc Bolland said.

Mr Bolland was due to face concerned shareholders at M&S's AGM at Wembley Stadium.

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