Tesco outgrew its big four rivals again in September as convenience specialist the Co-op emerged as the only major grocer to lose sales.

Britain’s biggest retailer recorded a 2.8% uplift in sales during the 12 weeks to September 9 compared to the same quarter last year, according to data from Nielsen.

Nine of the 10 grocers in the survey posted sales gains during the period, but the Co-op’s revenues inched down 0.1%.

However, September’s figures were the first to take into account the impact of the 298 stores the Co-op sold to the McColl’s.

Lidl’s rapid growth continued as the German grocer’s sales spiked 18.7%, while its discount rival Aldi was hot on its heels with a 13.6% jump, Nielsen’s data said.

Iceland was the fastest growing grocer outside of the discounters, registering a 4.9% sales increase, while Marks & Spencer posted a 4.3% uplift.

Morrisons was the best-performing member of Tesco’s big four rivals, enjoying a 1.7% increase, while Sainsbury’s and Asda registered gains of 1.4% and 1% respectively.

Sustained growth

Rival data from Kantar Worldpanel also named Tesco as the fastest growing member of the big four, with a 2.7% sales rise in the 12 weeks to September 10.

Lidl and Aldi enjoyed growth of 19.2% and 15.6% respectively as the discount duo continued to outgrow the market at a pace.

But Kantar’s figures suggested Ocado was the quickest growing grocer aside from the discounters, as sales jumped 10.1% during the period. 

Iceland’s sales increased for an 18th consecutive period, Kantar said, as its sales advanced 4%.

Kantar said overall supermarket sales climbed 3.6%, marking the sixth consecutive month in which revenues have risen more than 3%.

Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said it was the longest sustained run of growth in the market since May 2013.

Own-label drive

Nielsen said shoppers turned increasingly to own-label products during the quarter in a bid to combat the effects of food price inflation.

According to Nielsen’s figures, consumer spend on own-branded goods increased 5.5% year-on-year during the three-month period.

In contrast, spend on proprietary brands grew just 1.2%.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “The return of inflation means shoppers are increasingly turning to supermarkets’ own-label products to help manage their weekly grocery spend.

“Own-brand sales are growing across all major food retailers but fastest at the discounters – Aldi and Lidl – and at the Co-operative, Iceland, M&S and Tesco.”