The UK’s big supermarkets have increased their grip on the grocery retail sector, with market leader Tesco increasing its commanding share in the 12 weeks to 10 September while smaller retailers, primarily Kwik Save, showed considerable decline.

The UK’s number one supermarket saw its share of the market rise to 31.4%, up from 30.1% for the same period last year, TNS Worldpanel revealed yesterday (20 September).  

The survey found Asda, the UK unit of Wal-Mart, retained the hotly contested number two spot with a 16.7% share. However, Sainsbury’s sales showed a strong 8% growth rate and the retailer increased its share of the market to 15.9%. “If this continues then Sainsbury should see even higher market share at Christmas – traditionally a strong trading period for this retailer,” Edward Garner, director of research at TNS, observed.  

Since the acquisition of Safeway in 2005 Morrisons has struggled to maintain its market share, again showing a decline from 11.2% last year to 11% this year despite signs of recovery.

Upmarket supermarket Waitrose achieved a record 3.9% market share as it consolidated recent acquisitions.

Of the discount chains, the strongest performance came from Aldi with a share of 2.5% thanks to store extensions and acquisitions.

According to Garner, the growth of the big supermarkets came largely at Kwik Save’s expense. “The recovery of the two historically weaker retailers hasn’t prevented Tesco adding another 1.3 share points year-on-year – the brunt of the suffering is being borne by Kwik Save which has all but disappeared,” he commented.