Sainsburys sales climbed 3.4% in the 12 weeks to 23 December

Sainsbury's sales climbed 3.4% in the 12 weeks to 23 December

Sainsbury's was the only UK retailer among the big four to increase its market share in the last three months of 2012, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

The retailer's sales climbed 3.4% in the 12 weeks to 23 December, increasing its share of the UK grocery market to 17.1% from 17% a year ago.

Tesco's share dipped slightly, from 30.6% to 30.5%, however, this is an improvement on the performance seen throughout 2012, when the average share drop was 0.4%, suggesting festive shoppers gave the retailer a welcome boost in the run up to Christmas, Kantar said.

The ongoing strong performances of the premium and discount ends of the market continued in the lead up to the festive period. Waitrose achieved 5.4% growth, while Aldi, Lidl and Iceland posted respective growth rates of 30.1%, 10.8% and 9.7%. Iceland's 2.2% share is a 12-year record for the retailer.

"Historically, the discounter sector has seen its share dip at Christmas as shoppers treat themselves and trade up, but the all-time record share of 3.2% for Aldi is a sign of the times and shows that this is no longer the case," said Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel. "Aldi and Lidl both benefited from carrying items such as goose, venison and fine wines in their pre-Christmas catalogues this year. It seems that offering premium products at budget prices has paid off for the discount retailers."

The well-publicised under-performance of Morrisons, however, continued and it was the only big four supermarket to lose sales compared with last year. Growth dropped 0.6% in the period.

Grocery inflation stands at 4.5% for the period, an increase on the 3.5% reported last period.