LONDON Jan 8 Sainsbury, Britain's No. 3 supermarket, posted the largest sales rise in the run-up to Christmas among the so called "big four" grocers and was the only one to grow market share, according to data published on Tuesday.
Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said Britain's grocery market grew 3.2 percent in the 12 weeks to Dec. 23.
It said Sainsbury's saw sales growth of 3.4 percent, edging up its market share by 0.1 percent to 17.1 percent.
Market leader Tesco, fighting back after a dismal Christmas in 2011 led to its first profit warning in 20 years, saw sales growth of 2.9 percent but its market share dipped slightly - by 0.1 percent to 30.5 percent.
That was, however, an improvement on the performance seen throughout 2012, when Tesco's average share drop was 0.4 percent, said Kantar.
No. 2 player Wal-Mart's Asda saw sales growth of 2.2 percent, but its market share slipped 0.2 percent to 17.3 percent.
Sainsbury's and Tesco will publish Christmas trading statements on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.