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UPDATE 1-Britain's grocery sales growth slows as habits inch towards normality

    * UK grocery sales up 14.4% in 12 weeks to Aug. 9 - Kantar
    * Grocery sales in last 4 weeks lowest since February
    * Morrisons was best performer of big four grocers

 (Adds detail, table)
    By James Davey
    LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - British grocery sales grew 14.4%
in the 12 weeks to Aug. 9, a slight decline from last month's
data as shopping habits eased back towards normality after
months of coronavirus lockdown, industry data showed on Tuesday.
    Market researcher Kantar said the growth was down from 14.6%
in its July report and 18.9% in June's, with the data showing
the market is moving away from the heady sales heights of the
lockdown period.
    It said Britons' grocery spend of 9.7 billion pounds ($12.8
billion) over the past four weeks was the lowest since February,
though still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels.
    "While things are far from normal, the data shows a gradual
softening of the more extreme lockdown trends in the grocery
market," said Charlotte Scott, Kantar's consumer insight
director.
    One of the most significant lockdown trends, online
shopping, reached another new record market share in the latest
four weeks, with 13.5% of all sales now ordered through the
internet, the researcher said.
    Online grocer Ocado was the standout performer with
sales growth of 45.5%, registering a record market share of
1.8%.
    Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 supermarket group, was
the best performer of the country's big four grocers with a
sales rise of 16%.
    Market leader Tesco saw growth of 12.8%, followed
by No. 2 Sainsbury's with growth of 10.9%. Walmart
 owned Asda was again the laggard with growth of 9.5%.
Asda reports second-quarter results later on Tuesday.
    German owned discounters Aldi and Lidl had sales growth of
12.7% and 15.7% respectively, though the former again lost
market share.
    Rival researcher Nielsen also highlighted slowing sales
growth in its August report.
    
    Market share and sales growth (%)
                  12 wks to     12 wks to     pct change
                  Aug. 9 2020   Aug. 11 2019  in sales
 Tesco            26.6          27.0          12.8
 Sainsbury's      14.9          15.4          10.9
 Asda             14.3          14.9          9.5
 Morrisons        10.2          10.1          16.0
 Aldi             7.9           8.1           12.7
 Co-operative     7.1           6.6           22.4
 Lidl             5.9           5.9           15.7
 Waitrose         4.7           4.9           9.7
 Iceland          2.4           2.2           29.2
 Ocado            1.8           1.4           45.5
    Source: Kantar
($1 = 0.7593 pounds)

 (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young and David
Evans)
  
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