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Tesco starts to close gap on faster growing rivals

TESCO, the UK&rsquo;s largest retailer, is closing the gap on faster-growing competitors, market researcher TNS WorldPanel said yesterday.<br /><br />TNS, which tracks sales growth in the grocery sector, said sales at Tesco, which has been growing less quickly than rivals in recent months, rose 4.2 per cent in the 12 weeks to 4 October.<br /><br />This was just below the 4.7 per cent growth recorded by the grocery sector as a whole.<br /><br />The sturdy performance helped Tesco&rsquo;s market share, which has been dwindling recently, to stabilise around the 31 per cent mark, TNS said. <br /><br />But Tesco continued to grow less quickly than its closest competitors, with Asda growing 6.6 per cent, J Sainsbury up 5.7 per cent and Wm Morrison up 8.4 per cent.<br /><br />Upmarket chain Waitrose continued to expand, with sales growing by 11.6 per cent. <br /><br />Food price inflation was 3.5 percent over the 12 week period, easing for the seventh successive month, TNS WorldPanel said. <br /><br />Tesco said last week it had closed the sales gap on its competitors in recent weeks and was starting to recapture market share.