The late Easter provided a sales boost for supermarkets but the big four’s share was eaten up by the discounters, according to Nielsen data.

All of the big four grocers apart from Asda lost share with Tesco and Morrisons worse hit in the four weeks ending April 26. Tesco’s share fell 1.2% to 28.1% over the period while Morrisons’ fell 0.7% to 11% as sales fell 4.6% year on year.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s share fell 0.3% to 16.4% while Asda held steady at 16.5%.

The discounters were yet again the big winners with Aldi’s share jumping  1.3% to 5.1% as sales soared 37.1%. Lidl’s share rose 0.7% to 4% as sales increased 22.4%.

Waitrose’s share was boosted by 0.3% to 5.1% as sales advanced 7.9%.

Across the sector, sales values jumped 5.3% and volumes were also up 1.2% compared with last year as Easter fell later. In the week leading up to Easter, values soared 16% year-on-year.

Nielsen UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “The late Easter, however, masks the reality that the current trading environment is soft compared to a year ago and there is little momentum in the amount of groceries people are buying.

“The amount being spent continues to be impacted by a combination of record low food inflation and many supermarkets’ competitive pricing policies. Although this is good news for shoppers, it’s not so for the retailers whose margins are now coming under increasing pressure.”

Watkins said that price cutting initiatives of major supermarkets such as Morrisons could act as a catalyst to growth in the sector in the second half.