Tesco and Sainsbury's have underperformed the total grocery market for the second consecutive month, while Morrisons and Asda have built on sales momentum, according to the latest TNS Worldpanel figures.
The total grocery market grew 5.9% for the 12 weeks to 24 February, with sales growth at Tesco lagging at 4.9% and Sainsbury's at 5%. Tesco now has 31.3% of the market, down 0.4 percentage points, with Sainsbury's down 0.1 point to 16.4%.
Citigroup analysts predicted Tesco would make a comeback in the next two months following aggressive price cuts since January.
Morrisons' share of the market grew 0.5 points to 11.6% with sales up 10.8%, while Asda's share stayed at 16.9% as sales grew 6.5%.
Asda's sales performance over the past four weeks has been even stronger, according to the Citigroup analyst's report. "Asda has been the clear winner this month, taking its growth up to 8.3% over the past four weeks - a doubly impressive achievement considering it is facing some relatively tough comparatives from the start of 2007."
Waitrose recorded 7.2% growth. Sales grew 8.1% at Iceland, 6.5% at symbols, and 2.5% at Somerfield and total independents.
According to Nielsen data, total grocery sales were up 6.6% for the 12 weeks to 23 February. Morrisons' sales were up 10.1%, Asda's up 6.6%, Sainsbury's 6.5% and Tesco's 5.1%.
The fact bakery sales were up 12.3% and dairy up 9.5% showed price inflation driven by cost rises had contributed to the strong performance, said Mike Watkins, Nielsen's senior manager of retailer services.