Tesco’s performance improve last month, registering the fastest growth of the big four grocers, according to Nielsen.

The UK’s largest retailer recorded a 3.7% increase in gross sales over the four weeks to July 21 ahead of Asda which recorded 3.2% growth.

Sainsbury’s registered the slowest growth at 0.6% while Morrisons grew at 1.3%. Aldi and Lidl continued to outperform the market.

Analyst Nick Bubb said: “It cost Tesco some margin to get that sales boost, via their ‘Spend £50 and get 5poff a litre of fuel’ promotion, and it remains to be seen how sustainable that is. And the Grocery market is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Nielsen senior manager for retailer services Mike Watkins: “The cold and wet weather in early July, combined with the absence of a mid-July major event, resulted in weaker sales growths.  This was compounded by shoppers remaining fickle and chasing bargains – shopping tactically to benefit from retailer giveaways.  However, with sales growths improving in the last two weeks of July, due to the warmer weather and the start of the London 2012 Olympics, it’s hoped that the much-awaited turning point of the year has finally been reached.”

Watkins adds: “The last four weeks have seen Asda’s previously-impressive growth slowing to +3.2%, as the first anniversary marking the conversion of most of its acquired Netto stores to Asda approaches. Meanwhile, Tesco’s sales growths improved to +3.7% on the back of initiatives that included ‘Spend £50; get 5p off a litre of fuel’, which helped attract more shoppers in-store.” 


 % share, 12 weeks to July 21% share, 12 weeks to July 23% sales change vs. same 12 weeks year ago