Tesco named Christmas victor as grocery shoppers spend extra £1bn

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Both retailers increased their sales by 16.8% compared with the same period the previous year, taking Aldi's share of the entire United Kingdom grocery market to 6.8% from 6% a year earlier and Lidl's to 5% from 4.4%, Kantar Worldpanel said.

Tesco was the top performer among the big four United Kingdom supermarkets in the three months including the Christmas period, but major local grocers continued to lose market share to German competitors, surveys from Kantar Worldpanel and Nielsen showed Tuesday.

Shoppers parted with £747m on December 22 alone, making the Friday before Christmas the busiest shopping day ever recorded.

For December sales, Asda was the victor, reporting growth of 3.7 per cent, ahead of Morrisons, which today reported a 3.4 per cent rise in sales in the last month of the year.

Aldi's share of the market went up to 7.5 per cent over the festive season, from 6.9 per cent the year before.

However, market share growth at Aldi and Lidl continued to outpace the Big 4, with the German discounters both recording sales rises of 16.8 per cent.

Waitrose saw a 2.3% increase, Asda by 2.2%, Morrisons by 2.1% and Sainsbury's by 2%.

Separate market share figures from Nielsen, which were also released today, indicated that shoppers spent nearly £500 million more on groceries in December compared to the prior year, with Tesco also seeing the largest sales growth of the Big 4 in the final quarter.

With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, Tesco Express branches, like other convenience stores, were able to benefit from restricted Sunday opening hours for larger supermarkets and were able to capitalise on consumers wanting to do their shopping closer to home immediately before the big day, Kantar said. Despite a successful festive period, Tesco is still growing behind the market with a 0.2 percentage point fall in market share to 28.0%.

That is the lowest level of promotional activity at Christmas since 2009.

Asda and Morrisons also saw their grocery market share figures decline by 0.2 per cent, to 15.3 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively. Sainsbury's share dipped slightly, going from 15.8 per cent to 15.5 per cent.

Tesco has been crowned victor of the "golden quarter" after figures revealed it recorded the largest sales growth of the "big four" supermarkets in the run up to Christmas.

Keith Richardson, managing director retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "Despite what were arguably the toughest festive trading conditions in a generation, Christmas still provided a boost for all the major supermarkets with shoppers absorbing rising prices to treat themselves". Online sales grew 5 per cent, resulting in the channel hitting a high of 6.4 per cent share of all grocery sales in the final quarter.