The Olympics, along with sunny weather of the year, helped the grocers enjoy their best four-week period of the year.

Sales jumped 3.5% year-on-year across the UK supermarkets during the four weeks ending August 18, according to data specialist Nielsen.

Sales volume also increased 1.7% year-on-year, the first rise in 18 months. Nielsen UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins said: “Retailers have clearly looked to maximise the sales opportunity around the London 2012 Olympics.”

However, Morrisons, which is expected to report a like-for-like decline of 0.7% when it updates on its first half on Thursday, recorded the slowest growth of the Big Four. The retailer’s market share dropped from 11.3% to 11%, as sales edged up just 1.4% over the 12 weeks to August 18.

Meanwhile Asda recorded the strongest year-on-year growth of the Big Four increasing 5.1% year-on-year, increasing its market share by 0.1% to 16.1%, followed by Tesco which nudged up 4%

The discounters continued to outperform the market with Aldi sales soaring 43.1% year-on-year in the 12 period and Lidl jumping 9.3%. Aldi’s market leapt 0.6% to 2.4% over the period. Meanwhile Waitrose sales increased 9.4% year-on-year as its market share edged up 0.2% to 4.2%.

Watkins said: “The Tesco sales recovery we first saw last month. Discounters continue to grow sales faster than other food retailers, while Waitrose outperformed with a stellar sales growth helped by shoppers spending more per visit on food and drink – making them this period’s winner across the supermarket sector.”


Table: 12-Weekly % share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change
 % share, 12 weeks to% share, 12 weeks to% sales change vs. same 
18-Aug-1220-Aug-1112 weeks year ago