Shoppers flock to Lidl as eyes battle with Morrisons

Shoppers flock to Lidl as it looks to overtake Morrisons to become the UK’s fifth biggest grocer

Lidl is plotting to overtake Morrisons as the UK’s fifth biggest grocer, with an extra 770,000 shoppers a week flocking through its doors.

Ryan McDonnell, boss of the German discounter, declared that his firm has the ‘momentum’ to surpass its more established rival.

But he added that there was still ‘a lot of work to be done’.

Market share: Lidl said it had taken £58m worth of spending in the past month alone from the traditional grocers, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons

The comments came as Lidl said it had taken £58million worth of spending in the past month alone from the traditional grocers, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

It is picking up hordes of cost-conscious shoppers looking to cut their grocery bills amid the spiralling cost of living.

And yesterday it doubled down, promising to be the cheapest supermarket this Christmas, with a dinner for seven costing £23.

Lidl and its rival German discounter Aldi have been the fastest-growing grocers in the UK for years, opening almost 1,000 stores each since entering the UK in the 1990s.

This trend has been accelerated by the soaring cost of living, with the pair seeing annual sales growth of around 20 per cent.

And in a significant blow to Morrisons’ private equity owners, New York-based Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, Aldi took the Bradford-based grocer’s coveted spot in the Big Four of UK supermarkets in September.

Asked if he expects Lidl to overtake Morrisons next, McDonnell said: ‘I think so, yeah.’

He told the Mail: ‘We have a very healthy pipeline for our expansion. I am not calculating at what point I am going to overtake, but certainly we have a lot of potential to keep taking market share and enjoy more switching gains.’

Veteran retail analyst Richard Hyman said it is now a matter of ‘when, not if’ Lidl surpasses Morrisons. He said: ‘Lidl will gain shoppers at a faster rate than they have for a while because people will continue trading down.’

Hyman said that it could overtake Morrisons in as little as 18 months.

The comments came as Lidl said sales in the year to February 28 rose 1.5 per cent to £7.8billion. 

That came despite sales across the market falling as shoppers returned to eating out in the wake of pandemic easing. Profit for the year more than quadrupled, hitting £41.1million.

Its sales have picked up since the end of its financial year, with the mounting cost of living crisis prompting shoppers to switch to the discounters.

McDonnell said: ‘As the cost of living crisis deepens, we are more focused than ever on supporting our colleagues, our customers and the communities we serve.

‘As a discount supermarket we are in the best possible position to support people through these challenging times, and it’s our absolute priority that we continue to do so.’