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MarketWatch reports that Tesco's recent sales decline continues to slow, with sales for the 12 weeks ending March 27 down 0.2 percent; Kantar Worldpanel predicts that Tesco even could return to growth before the end of the year.

However, the story says, "while the researcher's data showed that the pace of Tesco's sales decline has eased over the past 12 months, it also showed the company's market share has fallen over the period. For the 12 weeks to March 27 Tesco earned a 28.1% share of the market, compared to 28.4% in the comparable period a year earlier."

The problem: discounters Aldi and Lidl saw their joint market share grow to 10.4 percent, from nine percent, during the same 12 weeks.

MarketWatch writes that "Sainsbury's market share in the 12 weeks ended March 27 was unchanged at 16.4%, while sales grew 1.2% ... Asda, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., saw its market share fall to 16.2%, from 17.1% for the comparable 12 weeks, with sales 3.9% lower."
KC's View:
It is worth noting that in a related story, Business Insider reports that while "Aldi and Lidl may be known for their cheap groceries ... it is their premium products which are smashing the competition right now." Upmarket products and premium lines, the story says, grew more than six percent in the past 12 weeks, or twice as much as more traditionally priced lines ... meaning that even as the economy improves and people have more disposable income, shopping habits that brought them into discounters are not necessarily reversing themselves.

That's an important lesson to learn as Aldi expands in the US and Lidl makes plans to invade our shores. Once consumers try them, it may be hard to get them back ... because both companies have experience at strategically expanding their offering to maintain and expand their appeal.