Morrisons has been outstripped by its rivals as competition remains intense among the grocers in the run up to Christmas.

Nielsen data for the four weeks to October 13 showed Morrisons’ sales had slipped 0.5%.

Sainsbury’s led the big four, as sales growth surged 6.6% while Asda recorded strong growth of 4.1%. Tesco was in line with the market at 2.9%.

Waitrose sales growth was up 7.8%.

Marks & Spencer recorded 3.1% growth while The Co-operative grew 1.4%. Aldi reported strong growth again, of 50.7%, while rival Lidl grew 17.6% in the four week period.

Data for the 12 weeks to October 13 showed Sainsbury’s and Waitrose continued to outperform the other leading grocers, with both grocers gaining market share. Asda and Tesco were still growing sales faster than Morrisons, whilst Aldi and Lidl look well positioned to have another stellar performance this Christmas.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins: “Early autumn trading remains solid, if unspectacular, and the last four weeks have seen a continuation of the post-Olympic trend of positive unit growth compared to earlier in the year. However, as inflation is currently at a low point, value growths are lower compared to this time last year. 

“Last week saw the start of the tactical use of money-off vouchers ahead of half term, with Asda, Tesco and Morrisons all offering a £5 discount on the next shop as they seek first-mover advantage ahead of Christmas trading. The next few weeks up until mid-November will be important in assessing the level of consumer demand this Christmas.”

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said: “If patterns currently evident continue into the festive period then the Christmas winners will be Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

“Asda, Tesco and Marks & Spencer will be the Christmas ‘Mr In-Betweenees’. Morrison will be the loser.”