According to figures from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel the supermarket’s sales rose 4.7 per cent and its share rose 0.2 points to 16.9 per cent in the 12 weeks to 25 November. Last month Sainsbury’s posted a 5.4 per cent increase in first-half profit.
Kantar also highlighted a particularly strong performance from discounter Aldi, whose sales rise of 27.3 per cent gave it a market share gain of 0.5 percentage points to three points.
Meanwhile the biggest loser was Wm Morrison, Britain’s fourth-biggest grocer. Its sales fell 1.1 per cent and its market share slid to 11.7 per cent, down from 12.3 per cent in the same period last year.
Wal-Mart’s Asda, Britain’s second-biggest grocer, saw its share dip 0.1 per cent to 17.3 per cent.
Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco also saw a decline, with market share edging down to 30.7 per cent, down from 31 per cent in the equivalent period last year.
Tesco is battling to regain momentum against a weak economic backdrop, with consumers fretting over job security and a squeeze on disposable incomes.
The supermarket has suffered in the economic downturn more than its main rivals, in part because it sells more discretionary non-food goods, where shoppers have been cutting back most.
Tesco’s sales rose 2.2 per cent over the 12-week period this year compared to growth for the overall market of 3.2 per cent – and even this was below inflation of 3.5 per cent.
The trading period covered by Kantar almost mirrors Tesco’s fiscal third quarter, on which the firm will report today. Analysts are forecasting sales in a range between flat and a 0.9 per cent fall.