German discounter Schwarz Group was the world’s fastest-growing grocery chain last year.

The group posted a 36 per cent sales leap, and climbed 12 places to number 14 in M+M Planet Retail’s top 30 grocers list. M+M attributed Schwarz’s success to the growth of Lidl, particularly in Germany and northern Europe.

‘The company made significant entries in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and Lidl is storming ahead in the discount sector,’ said M+M European analyst Bryan Roberts.

Tesco, the only UK retailer in the top 10, also outperformed many of its rivals, increasing net sales by 27 per cent.

Wal-Mart remained out of sight, despite having upped sales by a modest 5 per cent. The sluggish figure was attributed to the disposal of McLane Wholesale, which stripped out US$15.6 billion (£8.49 billion) of revenues.

US chains such as Kmart and JC Penney continue to struggle, the latter falling out of the Top 30. Meanwhile, Australian retailer Coles Myer and Canadian chain Loblaw both feature on the list for the first time.

Dutch group Ahold held on to third position, behind Carrefour. However, M+M forecasts that Ahold will drop behind Metro this year because of further planned disposals.