UK supermarket Sainsbury grew faster than Wal-Mart's Asda in the twelve weeks to 27 March 2005, the first time that has happened for ten years, according to figures from market researchers TNS.

The figures also show Tesco increasing its dominance in the market with growth of 11.4% compared with the same period last year. Sainsbury's growth was 4.1% year on year while Asda's sales increased by 3.0%.

"This is the first time Sainsbury's growth has led Asda's in the past ten years, indicating an intensifying battle between the leading grocery retailers for market share," said Peter East, director, TNS Superpanel.

Sainsbury's recovery appears invigorated as it strives to address well-publicised price competitiveness and availability issues, TNS said. "Sainsbury's improvements will place further pressure on to the Morrisons group, as they seek to speed up the programme of conversions of Safeway stores to Morrisons fascias in order to generate a turnaround in sales performance," it said.

"Waitrose continue to perform extremely well, growing by 17.5% on the latest 12 weeks still buoyed by new converted stores," said Peter East.