UK supermarket retailer J Sainsbury has halted its long spell of declining market share, according to the latest industry data.

The third-placed supermarket chain registered market share of 16.1% for the 12 weeks to 7 December, compared to 16% a month earlier, but still down compared to 17.2% a year earlier, the latest figures from market research firm TNS show.

Wm Morrison, which earlier this week agreed a new takeover bid for rival Safeway, had a market share of 6.4% in the latest period, holding steady from the month before, but up from 6% in the year-ago period, reported Reuters.

Tesco's market share increased slightly to 26.9% from 26.8% in the previous month, while Wal-Mart's Asda had a market share of 16.8%, compared to 16.7% a month before.

Safeway's market share was unchanged at 9.2%, but still down on its year-ago figure of 10.1%.