Grocery sales rose 5.8 per cent in the past 12 weeks on the same period last year, according to the latest figures from Nielsen.

Food inflation continues to drive growth in the sector and the first week of September was particularly strong thanks to promotions such as “Back to School”.

Aggressive pricing of general merchandise has resulted in 1.3 per cent value growth, although clothing sales are encouraging and all value retailers continue to do well, according to the report.

Tesco held on to the top spot in terms of grocery market spend with 27.9 per cent share, while Asda claimed 14.8 per cent, Sainsbury’s took 13.9 per cent, Morrisons posted 9.7 per cent and Marks & Spencer snared 3.7 per cent.

Nielsen senior retailer services manager Mike Watkins said: “Asda and Morrisons continue to outperform the market and Tesco looks likely to benefit from its recent price and promotions initiatives, building momentum for the next few weeks. The run-up to the critical Christmas period will be very interesting indeed.”