Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose are losing share of the UK grocery market, according to the latest figures from TNS Worldpanel, as consumer demand for value continues.

All three retailers increased their sales during the 12 weeks to 5 October but saw their performance lag a market that grew by 6.7% year-on-year.

Tesco saw its sales rise by 5.5%, while Sainsbury's sales climbed 5.6%. Sales at Waitrose, one of the UK's more upmarket food retailers, inched up by only 1.6%.

Ed Garner, director of research at TNS Worldpanel, said the figures confirmed that the "growth of value-based grocery retailers continues apace".

Aldi saw its sales jump 22.1% over the 12-week period, while Lidl posted sales growth of 9.8%.

Garner said Sainsbury's performance was "better than expected" given the popularity of lower-price rivals like Aldi and Lidl. He added that Tesco will hope its recent launch of a cut-price range of products will boost its sales.

Morrisons and Asda, the two other 'Big Four' grocers in the UK, saw their sales climb 9.6% and 9% respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, Waitrose saw its sales squeezed.

"It is now apparent that Waitrose is under pressure as growth all but evaporates leaving the share down at 3.8%," Garner said yesterday (14 October).

TNS said the 6.7% growth seen in the UK grocery sector as a whole was due to food inflation "rather than any real growth" but the researchers claimed that price increases had reached their peak.

"Price inflation in Grocery increased marginally to 9.3% for the 12 weeks ending October 5th 2008 compared to the same period a year ago. It will start to fall towards the end of the year as some of the sharpest price rises drop out of the annual comparisons," TNS said.