More than 400,000 new shoppers visited Asda in the past three months, new figures from Nielsen reveal, as the supermarket giant continues to grow its share of the UK grocery market.

Asda's strong showing comes as sales at grocery multiples grew 5.7% in the four weeks to 21 February, with Sainsbury’s also attracting new shoppers. Meanwhile, discounters saw their share of the market increase to 6%, up from 5% last year.

“Asda has worked hard over the last year to develop its customer proposition and has attracted a wider base of shoppers,” said Nielsen retailer services senior manager Mike Watkins.

“Its continuing growth has resulted in a good uplift versus last year and the retailer now holds 15.8% share of market. Shoppers are increasingly reassured about Asda’s offering and the opportunity to save on shopping bills is proving alluring and pulling more people in.”

He added: “The continued momentum of the private label-driven discounters shows shoppers are happy to make the trade-off between range and price. The recent decision by Asda to further prune ranges by up to 30% in some categories may suggest that this retailer is looking to move into a middle ground between the limited range discounters and a full range retailer such as Tesco and this could prove to be a very shrewd strategy in the long term.”

Morrisons saw the fastest sales growth over the past month, up 8.2%, although Nielsen attributed the rise to increased spend from its shoppers rather than a deluge of new customers.

Meanwhile, Waitrose saw growth of 3.2% in the latest three months as shopper numbers rose 6% and average spend climbed 4.5%.

Watkins said: “Waitrose has re-energized its business in the last few weeks with some well-chosen and focused price-cuts and promotions. It is still early days but this suggests a core of shoppers will respond to a message of saving money without necessarily having to change the products they wish to buy.”