Tesco continued to outperform its big four rivals in October as grocery retailers reported healthy sales increases across the board, with the exception of the Co-op.

The supermarket recorded a 2.2% rise in grocery sales in the four weeks to October 7, according to data from Nielsen.

Overall, nine out of 10 of the grocers posted sales rises, except for the Co-op, which posted a sales decline of 1.3% due to the year-on-year impact of selling 298 McColl’s stores.

Overall grocery sales were up 3.9%, while the volume of goods sold during the period rose 1.6%, despite the increasing impact of inflation.

After Tesco, Morrisons was the second-best-performing big four grocer, with sales up 2%, followed by Asda, up 1.4%.

Sainsbury’s had the weakest sales performance of the big four during the period, up 1.2%.

German discounter Lidl continued to deliver the strongest sales growth overall as its sales jumped 18.2%, closely followed by rival Aldi, which posted a 12.8% sales rise.

Marks & Spencer was the fastest-growing grocer outside of the discounters, with sales up 4.4%, followed by Iceland, which recorded a 3.1% sales increase.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “Inflation is helping supermarkets’ growth and the good news for them is that shoppers are still spending.

“Meanwhile, the good news for shoppers is that grocery inflation is still below that in other parts of the economy – such as travel and fuel – and should peak later in the year.

“Furthermore, retailers are likely to up their use of price-saving promotions at Christmas, offsetting some of the inflation.”

Inflation set to slow

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel found that inflation had risen 3.2% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to October 8, matching the rate of inflation from the previous quarter, while grocery sales had increased 3.1% in value year-on-year.

However, Kantar projected that this rate would fall below 2% in the first quarter of 2018.

Kantar found that Morrisons was the fastest growing of the big four grocers during the period, recording a 2.8% sales rise and followed by Tesco, which posted a 2.1% boost in sales.

According to Kantar, Asda and Sainsbury’s sales rose 1.8% and 1.9% respectively – although all of the big four lost market share during the period.

Kantar Worldpanel’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said: “Aldi and Lidl collectively added an additional £390 million in sales this quarter, which accounts for half of the entire market’s overall growth this period.”