Sainsbury’s has recorded the strongest growth of the big four grocers in the last three months, edging out archrival Tesco, according to Nielsen data.

Sainsbury’s enjoyed sales growth of 4.1% ahead of Tesco in the 12 weeks to February 4. Asda’s sales grew 1.9% while Morrisons fell 0.9%.

Aldi recorded strong growth of 45.3% ahead of rival Lidl, which grew 14.5%, and Waitrose sales rose 9.6%. Marks & Spencer grew sales 4.6%.

Tesco’s market share stands at 28.6%, Asda 17.1%, Sainsbury’s 16.4% and Morrisons 11.5%.

Nielsen said a drop in the use of vouchers, coupons and fuel discounts compared to a year ago combined with cautious shopper behaviour saw a slow start to 2013.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins, “After the promotional and discounting frenzy at Christmas, retailers and consumers both stepped back a little. Although the percentage of the basket purchased “on offer” went back to 33% of sales right after Christmas – which is still high – it’s what we’ve come to expect in recent years as shoppers continue to seek out savings. However, compared to the start of 2012, there has been less use of vouchers, coupons and fuel discounts.”

He added: “There were slightly fewer shopping trips to most of the major supermarkets as shoppers held back spend after Christmas, perhaps paying down credit cards or delaying spend to the next pay day in February. On top of this, sales in the final two weeks of January will have been disrupted by the snowy weather.”

Full Nielsen data below: