Despite the top four supermarkets once more being back under the Office of Fair Trading's microscope, it's business as usual as far as food retail consumers are concerned.
TradeTrak for the 12 weeks to February 25, 2006 confirms that Tesco has again increased market share and now has almost 29% of the market share of all food, drink and non food purchased in UK supermarkets.
Asda is still 13 percentage points behind, but Sainsbury continues to close the gap with Asda with a total share of 15.3%. It has gained even more ground in the most recent four weeks.
However, while the relative market shares of supermarkets make interesting reading, the real driver of long-term success is shopper penetration.
And here it is not just Tesco that is flying high. Morrisons, too, is attracting new shoppers, with penetration increasing to 31.8% from 30% this time last year. As Kwik Save is reborn, it's reassuring to know there is still business to be won and consumers to be converted for any format that offers something different for the shopper.
Mike Watkins, senior manager, retailer services at ACNielsen, says: "Our consumer research consistently shows that the key reasons for choosing a store are a wide and varied range, high quality brands supported by a strong private label and a good range of fresh products."
He adds: "Low prices are now expected in the UK and this is not going to change. But we also know that differentiation on price alone is no longer enough and retailer strategies will have to evolve, which is something I am sure that the new owners of Kwik Save are considering as they review the success of the recent media campaigns of Aldi and, to some degree, Lidl."
While a third of all households are made up of high street shoppers who prefer to shop locally, new ACNielsen analysis of why people choose to shop where they do shows that it's Morrisons and Asda, together with Waitrose and M&S, who have the most potential to grow their share over the longer term (source: ACNielsen ShopperTrends).
As the development of food retailing continues on its rollercoaster journey, given the right format and, of course, the ideal locations, retailers can do well and any recent increase in shopper penetration is a perfect springboard to gaining market share.