The Mog effect? Sainsbury's share price climbs as grocer outperforms Tesco, Asda and Morrisons as Kantar supermarket figures

Catherine Neilan
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Cheer up Mog - your books are selling well

Could it be the Mog effect? Sainsbury's has beaten Tesco, Asda and Morrisons to become the best performing supermarket among the Big Four.

In fact, Kantar Worldpanel figures show that Sainsbury's was the only grocer among the top spots to post a growth in sales for the 12 weeks to 6 December, up 1.2 per cent.

Tesco and Asda had a proportionately poor period, with sales down 3.4 per cent apiece, while Morrisons tumbled two per cent.

Sainsbury's growth means it has leapfrogged over Asda to take 16.7 per cent of market share, while the Walmart-owned business took just 16.2 per cent. Tesco has slipped, but is still easily the market leader, with 28 per cent of total spend, down from 29.1 per cent last year.

It was also well received by investors this morning: Sainsbury's share price rose four per cent in early morning trading.

Aldi and Lidl continue to climb by double figures, up 15.4 per cent and 17.9 per cent respectively. The Co-op grew sales by two per cent while Waitrose was up 2.7 per cent.

Total grocery market sales rose by just 0.1 per cent compared to last year as retailers battle for sales during the vital Christmas period.

Black Friday did little to buoy the market, Kantar said, with supermarkets seeing just a four per cent uptick in sales.

This is the lowest period of growth since June and is the ninth consecutive month where sales have increased by less than one per cent.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Although slow growth means a distinct lack of seasonal cheer for the market, the news is more positive for consumers looking to save this Christmas. Last year customers spent an average of £71.33 on their big Christmas shop but with falling prices set to continue, shoppers are likely to enjoy a cheaper Christmas this year.

"All supermarkets are cutting prices, particularly on staples like eggs and butter, with the cost of everyday groceries falling by 1.9 per cent this month."

Although some of Sainsbury's growth can no doubt be attributed to its hugely successful Christmas campaign starring Judith Kerr's creation Mog The Cat - books of which have been selling at the rate of 39 books being sold every minute - McKevitt said there was more to the story than just the ad.

"Sainsbury’s recent run of success predates its popular ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ advert, with the retailer now having grown ahead of the market for three months in a row," he said, noting a rise in demand for premium goods such as champagne, sparkling wine and it's Taste the Difference range.

Data firm Nielsen predicts £6.4bn will be spent in supermarkets in the two weeks to Christmas, with an extra weekday of trading compared to last year providing an extra boost.

The company, which also released market data yesterday, said Marks & Spencer was the top performer, aside Aldi and Lidl, over the last 12 weeks, with sales up 4.6 per cent.