Schwarz grabs top 10 grocery slot

German discount chain Schwarz was the highest climber in the European Top 30 Grocery League, leaping four places from 11 to seven after aggressive expansion last year.

However, Carrefour, Metro, Tesco, Rewe and Intermarche still hold the leading five positions, with a combined share of 26 per cent of net sales, according to the research by M+M Planet Retail.

Schwarz opened 500 stores last year, including 50 large Kaufland shops in Germany. The retailer also increased net sales by 17 per cent.

Outside the top 10, Spanish hypermarket and department store group El Corte Ingles was the other big mover, rising from 18 to 15 after a strong year of expansion and sales growth.

German discounter Rewe is expected to consolidate its number four position this year, with the expansion of its Prodega and Growa cash and carries on top of 100 new supermarkets and 100 Penny hard discount stores.

Aldi enjoyed growth outside its home market as competition in Germany intensified. However, Carrefour is now squaring up to Aldi in the discount market in France.

'The market is also heating up with the entry of Auchan into the hard discount sector last year via its Au Marche Vrac concept and operators such as Leclerc seeking to counter the discount threat with small town centre stores,' noted M+M.