Tesco was the biggest spender on advertising in grocery retailing over the Christmas period, The Grocer can reveal.

The UK's largest retailer ploughed £18.6m in festive advertising, pipping Morrisons which spent £18.29m, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Tesco spent £8.21m in December, in addition to £10.39m in November. The December spend included £5.34m on its Spice Girls TV ads, £2.78m on press advertising and £52,481 on radio.

Morrisons' £10.93m budget in November went down to £7.36m in December, which included £3.55m on TV slots, £3.64m on press ads and £173,575 on radio. Asda's total budget over the period totalled £16.54m, of which £6.8m was spent throughout December, when it spent £3.72m on TV slots, £3.1m on its press campaign and £17,166 on radio airtime.

The Sainsbury's budget was £13.95m in total, having increased from £6.71m in November to £7.24m in December. This included £4.66m on slots for the TV ad campaign fronted by Jamie Oliver, £2.31m on press and £270,953 on radio.

Waitrose spent a total of £4.34m, £1.96m in December, while Somerfield spent £3m overall and £1.6m last month.