Retail news round-up on February 4, 2014: Kantar shows Sainsbury’s strongest performer over Christmas, BRC says shop prices down 1% in January, Argos and Homebase send supplier letters and more.

Kantar data shows Sainsbury’s strongest performer over Christmas in UK

According to Kantar Worldpanel data, J Sainsbury emerged as the strongest performer amongst the top six grocers over the Christmas trading period in the UK, Reuters reported. In the six weeks to January 5, Sainsbury’s sales rose 5.2% year-on-year, boosting its British grocery market share to 17.7% from 17.2%, data from the market researcher found.

The outcome meant second position in the growth stakes for upmarket supermarket Waitrose with growth of 4.1%, and third place for the Co-Operative with growth of 3.1%. Asda saw 0.3% growth but Tesco and Morrisons sales plunged by 0.7% and 1.7% respectively. The trend of the major supermarket chains being hit by hard discounters Aldi and Lidl was evident in the six-week Kantar data, with the retailers seeing sales increases of 28.2% and 17.1% respectively.

BRC says shop prices down 1% in early January

According to British Retail Consortium’s latest industry figures, retailers in the UK cut prices at the fastest pace in at least seven years during January Sales, Reuters reported. This highlighted tough trading conditions in spite of an improving economy. Shop prices fell 1% in early January over the same period in 2012, the biggest annual slump in any month since the survey began in 2006 and the ninth straight month of declining prices. The price dip deepened from 0.8% in December, reflecting widespread discounting by British retailers in Sales - and particularly among clothing, furniture and electrical retailers. Non-food prices tumbled by an annual 2.7% in January against 2.3% in December, while food prices went up 1.5%, down from the previous month’s 1.7%.

Argos and Homebase send letters to suppliers demanding 2% turnover rebate

Home Retail Group-owned retailers Argos and Homebase have sent almost identical letters to suppliers demanding a 2% turnover rebate for orders placed on and from March 1. In the letters, which have been seen by The Telegraph, the companies say they will also ‘take this opportunity to discuss and agree with proposed changes to the existing payment terms’. A spokesman for Home Retail said: “Details of these agreements are commercially sensitive and therefore will not be disclosed.”

Ebuyer eyes high street store openings in UK

Online consumer electronics retailer Ebuyer is looking to open high street stores in the UK, Pocket Lint reported. The company’s managing director Stuart Carlisle believes that there is still potential on the high street. Carlisle revealed to PCR trade magazine for the PC and tech industries that plans to expand may include opening its own shops. “We have considered it,” he said. “Once we have found the most effective model for our customer base, we will act upon it.”