LONDON J Sainsbury (SBRY.L), Britain's third-biggest supermarket group, has lifted its market share, helped by investment in its cheaper own-brand products, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said Sainsbury's sales rose 6.4 percent in the 12 weeks to October 28, increasing its share of the UK grocery market to 16.8 percent from 16.4 percent a year ago, as the group also continued to benefit from its sponsorship of the summer's Paralympic Games.
Britain's No. 4 grocer Wm Morrison Supermarkets (MRW.L) saw sales slip 0.4 percent in the period, pushing its market share down to 11.5 percent from 12.0 percent a year ago.
"Morrison's performance this month will cause concern. Recent announcements about the development of online and convenience, which are the two fastest growing grocery channels, will no doubt be given added urgency as these channels continue to deliver growth for competitors," said Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel.
In September, Morrison said it would ease back on its investment drive, reducing its new space target for the 2012-13 year due to expectations that high fuel prices and government austerity measures were likely to weigh on consumer spending well into next year.
Kantar said market leader Tesco (TSCO.L) achieved sales growth of 2.1 percent over the 12 weeks, with its share falling 0.5 percentage points to 30.5 percent.
Britain's second-largest supermarket group Asda, part of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), saw its market share edge down 0.1 percentage point to 17.5 percent.
Privately-owned German discount retailer, Aldi, saw sales rise 29.0 percent in the period, pushing its market share up to 3 percent.
The data comes on the day a separate industry survey showed British retail sales slowed sharply in October as shoppers limited spending to essentials, dampening hopes that consumers will drive the economic recovery.
Following is a summary of Kantar's market share figures in percent:
(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Mark Potter)