According to the latest grocery market share figures for the 12 weeks ended 5 November published by TNS Worldpanel, the UK food retail sector is growing ahead of the Retail Price Index, with the major players all reporting growth ahead of the overall market.

"This apparent paradox can be in part explained by the virtual disappearance of Kwik Save - down from 1.6% share a year ago to 0.2% now, meaning new growth opportunities for the rest of the market," explained Edward Garner, director of research at TNS Worldpanel.

During the period, UK market leader Tesco has increased its market share from 30.1% for the comparable period of last year to 31.1% this year. The represents a 9% growth rate, TNS explained.

The UK's second and third largest retailers, Asda and Sainsbury, have increased their market share to reach 16.7% and 15.9% respectively. Asda's annual growth rate is 6% while Sainsbury's growth rate is 7%, Garner observed.

"Once again, the Morrisons-Safeway combination is showing real year-on-year turnover growth although this is slightly behind the market - hence the small share reduction of 0.2%," Garner said.

"Elsewhere, both Waitrose and Aldi are enjoying double-digit growth with the consolidation of store acquisitions playing their part in both cases," he concluded.