UK retailer Sainsbury’s outperformed its major rivals over the Christmas period, according to data from Nielsen, recording double-digit sales growth and an increase in its market share.

In the four weeks to 25 December, Sainsbury’s booked a 10.1% increase in sales according to figures from Nielsen. The retailer, the UK’s third-largest grocer, also increased its market share by a half point.

Tesco and Morrisons, meanwhile, grew in line with the market, with sales at both retailers rising 6.9%. Asda sales grew by 5.8% compared to the same period last year.

Mike Watkins, senior manager retailer services at Nielsen, said: “It is interesting and impressive to see such strong growths from Sainsbury’s. Initial Nielsen advertising spend data shows that the retailer spent less than its rivals on messaging in the run up to Christmas but it was clearly effective.”

Overall, sales at UK supermarkets grew 6.9% year-on-year in December, driven by a late rush during Christmas week. While the first three weeks of December saw “lacklustre sales” due to bad weather, the week ending 25 December recorded 16% growth year-on-year.

“Sales for the week ending 25 December reached GBP3.36bn in grocery multiples which is the largest sales week Nielsen has ever reported,” Watkins said. “The last minute rush and the fact that Christmas fell on a Saturday certainly helped by providing shoppers with a full week over which to stock up.”

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By GlobalData

In terms of food categories, the meat, fish and poultry category and the packaged grocery category performed best with 10.8% and 10.5% growth year-on-year.