Asda was the best performing of the big four grocers as Tesco and Morrisons continued to struggle, the latest Nielsen data showed.

Asda’s sales slipped 1.7% in the 12 weeks to March 29 and it’s market share dropped from 16.7% to 16.4% year on year, according to the data.

Tesco’s sales dropped 4.5% while its market share fell from 29.1% to 27.9%. Morrisons sales slumped 4.8% and its share fell from 11.5% to 11%.

Sainsbury’s sales were down 2.7% and its market share slid from 17% to 16.6%.  

Aldi’s strong run continued. Its sales surged 39.2% while Lidl’s jumped 20.4%. Their share grew from 3.7% to 5.2% and from 3.3% to 4% respectively.

Marks & Spencer and Waitrose also upped their share (see table).

Overall grocery sales slumped 4.3% in the four weeks to March 29, although supermarkets faced tough comparables due to the timing of Easter.

Sales by volume fell 4.8% in the period, which this time last year included Easter.

Convenience stores bucked the trend and sales edged up 0.6%.

Nielsen UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said:  “The underlying trend of shoppers moving away from larger to smaller stores continues. Historically, traditional convenience stores were used for immediate or distress purchasing, however, the huge investment by the major supermarkets has transformed this format.

“The likes of Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local and Co-operatives now offer a greater variety of food and drink which can be purchased ahead for the next few days, so basket sizes and spend per visit are increasing.

“Overall, trading momentum continues to be slow for all supermarkets ahead of Easter, particularly with slowing food inflation. The recent round of price cuts by some supermarkets, noticeably Morrisons, to stimulate sales hasn’t yet changed the retail landscape and is likely to take months to achieve.

“Waitrose and M&S continued their strong sales performance while Asda was the pick of the top four. The Co-operative is also benefiting from the shift towards convenience shopping, with trend figures better than all the top four.

“Shoppers continue to economise – but not compromise – and Aldi and Lidl still seem immune from weak consumer demand, entering the Easter trading period with even stronger momentum than last year.”

 12 WE 29 MAR 2014 12 WE 30 MAR 2013 % sales change