Tesco has outperformed its big four rivals for the second consecutive month as Britain’s biggest grocer continues to gain trading momentum.

According to Nielsen’s latest grocery market barometer, the supermarket giant grew sales 2.2% during the 12 weeks ended May 20, taking its share of the sector to 27.2%.

Its closest big four rival was Morrisons, which registered a 1.4% uplift over the same period, while Sainsbury’s sales advanced 1.2%.

“These incremental improvements are helping reverse the declining spend per visit which was an ongoing challenge for Tesco last year”

Mike Watkins, Nielsen

Embattled Asda continued to demonstrate signs of stabilisation, although sales dipped 0.1% as its market share dropped to 14%.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “Tesco’s re-focus on the customer and their changing needs, such as simplifying ranges and promotions, has meant they’ve not only attracted new shoppers but encouraged them to visit more often.

“These incremental improvements are helping reverse the declining spend per visit which was an ongoing challenge for Tesco last year.”

The discouters

Outside the big four, discount duo Aldi and Lidl continued to grow revenues ahead of the market, spiking 18.1% and 19.7% respectively, as their combined market share hit 13.5%.

Iceland again took the crown for the fastest-growing grocer outside of the discounters, registering a 9.8% jump in sales.

The Co-op also continued its impressive run, as sales climbed 2.7%, while upmarket rivals Waitrose and Marks & Spencer enjoyed 2.2% and 4.4% growth respectively.

Watkins warned that food price inflation helped grocers grow sales in May, but said it would be a “challenge” to sustain their growth during the summer months.

Kantar data

Rival data from Kantar Worldpanel said overall sales were up 3.8% year on year – the market’s best performance since September 2013.

Kantar Worldpanel consumer specialist Chris Hayward said: “Once again all ten grocers have seen sales increase, no doubt boosted by higher prices as inflation continues.

“Consumers are starting to feel the pinch as prices continue to rise, with the average household spending an additional £27 on groceries during the past 12 weeks”

Chris Hayward, Kantar Worldpanel

“Consumers are starting to feel the pinch as prices continue to rise, with the average household spending an additional £27 on groceries during the past 12 weeks.

“That may not seem like much, but if inflation continues at its current rate over the course of a year that would mean an extra £119 spent on groceries per household.”

Hayward said Tesco’s performance – up 1.8% year on year, according to Kantar – was helped by promotions on barbecue food as the weather got warmer.

He added that Aldi and Lidl collectively grew at their fastest rate since January 2015, with sales up 19.2% year on year and achieving a record market share of 12%.

Aldi UK and Ireland boss Matthew Barnes said: “Inflation is putting household budgets under pressure across Britain but our commitment is unchanged – we will always be significantly cheaper than our rivals and we will do all we can to protect our customers from the threat of rising prices.

“We’re growing strongly in a difficult market and are confident we are best-placed to continue attracting new customers right across the UK.”