J Sainsbury outpaces rivals as it sees its market share inch higher

UK SUPERMARKET sales are rising slightly more than food price inflation, with the third largest grocer J Sainsbury outpacing its major rivals, market researchers Kantar Worldpanel said yesterday.

Grocery sales climbed four per cent in the 12 weeks ended 31 October, helped by a three per cent rise in inflation -- little changed from the growth rates reported last month, Kantar said.

Sainsbury, which reports first-half results today, outperformed with sales growth of 6.1 per cent on the same period last year.

Smaller rival Wm Morrison Supermarkets saw growth of 3.8 per cent, followed by industry leader Tesco on 3.7 per cent and Wal-Mart’s Asda on 3.4 per cent.

“The large customer base of the top four retailers means that they must strike a balance between price and quality – low prices alone will not be enough to lure shoppers this Christmas. Sainsbury’s has hit a sweet spot with this balance,” said Edward Garner, communications director at Kantar Worldpanel.