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Tuesday, 5 May, 1998, 04:06 GMT 05:06 UK
Tesco 'extends lead over Sainsbury's'
Tesco is now overall leader, according to the survey
Supermarket giant Tesco has overtaken Sainsbury's as Britain's biggest-selling retailer, according to a report.

Tesco's sales in the United Kingdom jumped ahead of Sainsbury's in 1996, and the supermarket already had the biggest market share.

But Tesco was still behind Sainsbury's when US sales were included.

Now, Tesco is the undisputed leader overall, according to a survey by Corporate Intelligence on Retailing.

Sainsbury has lost ground to its rival
The survey said Tesco had reported 1997/98 UK sales of 14.6bn, excluding any contribution from new stores bought in Northern Ireland last year.

The report says Sainsbury's equivalent figure is expected to be about 12.8bn when it is announced soon.

The rankings, published annually, reveal that a large gap has opened up in recent years between Tesco, Sainsbury's and the rest.

Marks and Spencer comes third, with sales last year of 7.6bn, ahead of Asda and Safeway.

Corporate Intelligence said once again there were no foreign-owned companies in its top 20.

Dutch clothing group C&A was the highest-ranking foreign firm, at number 24.

The report said the level of concentration in UK retailing had continued to increase, with the top 10 firms together accounting for 38% of retail sales.

Director Robert Clark said he believed consolidation would continue in 1998, with food retailers one area likely to see more activity, along with book stores, smaller department stores and sportswear retailers.

But he did not see the UK retail market as particularly attractive to foreign firms.

He said the strong pound, plus high retail rents, would probably remain a disincentive to foreign entrants.

See also:

23 Feb 98 | Business
Supermarket war moves to high street
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