Grocery sales climbed 3.6% in the last 12 weeks – the highest rate of growth this year as shoppers stocked up with drinks to watch the big England games in the World Cup.

Sunny weather also boosted performance in the period to July 15, when Asda delivered the strongest showing among the big four grocers, the latest Kantar Worldpanel data showed.

Alcohol sales reached £287m in the week that England played Colombia and Sweden, while sales of firelighters and fresh burgers surged by 47% and 30% respectively over the last month as consumers enjoyed warm weather barbecues.

The heat benefited the Co-op, which achieved sales growth of 6.4% over the 12 weeks – its best showing since October 2011 – as “shoppers’ desire to maximise the sunshine encouraged them to shop more locally”. In the past month shoppers returned to Co-op stores on average a record 10.1 times.

Asda’s sales advanced 3.7%, its strongest growth in more than five years, and it was the best performer among the big four for the first time since December 2014.

The grocer achieved a sales increase of 9% in core, standard own-label lines, which make up 40% of its sales. Asda also drew an additional 230,000 shoppers through its doors over the 12 weeks.

Kantar said that Tesco’s convenience Express stores proved popular with shoppers, contributing to Tesco’s overall growth of 2.3%, but the grocer’s market share edged down 0.3 percentage points to 27.6%.

There is speculation that Tesco is poised to launch a new discount chain to take on Aldi and Lidl.

Kantar Worldpanel head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said: “Aldi and Lidl are now on the verge of hitting a combined market share of 13% for the first time, though the speculation over new entrants to the discount market could mean new pressures on the two retailers.”