Strong promotional activity and innovative marketing campaigns propelled growth at UK retailer Sainsbury’s, which saw sales rise faster than its rivals in the 12 weeks to 19 April, the latest figures from TNS revealed today (28 April).

“Their growth rate of 8.1% is well ahead of the market and has lifted their share from 16.1% a year ago to 16.3% now. Whilst they have maintained their ethical stance on issues like Fairtrade and Free-Range, they have also fielded some aggressive promotions on the run-up to Easter together with featuring their Basics range,” TNS director Ed Garner commented.

The figures also demonstrated the resiliency of the grocery retail sector, with sales rising 6.2% despite the challenging economic conditions.

However, the majority of gains were driven by price increases rather than volume growth, the research firm emphasised. Grocery price inflation stood at 9%, TNS revealed.

Asda and Morrisons both saw sales gains that outperformed the market – lifting their market share by 0.3 and 0.1 points respectively – while Tesco, the nation’s largest retailer, saw its share drop 0.5 points.