Value sales at Tesco in the three month period increased 2.1% compared to the same period a year ago, according to the research firm Nielsen.
Its market share, however, slipped to 28.5% in the 12 weeks to 3 March, down from 29% a year ago.
Tesco’s CEO Philip Clarke will be buoyed by the figures, which come a day after UK CEO Richard Brasher announced he will step down from the chain leaving Clarke to take full control of the UK business.
The supermarket issued a profit warning in January after reporting its worst Christmas trading in almost 20 years.
Nielsen claims the supermarket is beginning to attract new customers by introducing money saving initiatives such as voucher promotions and its Big Price Drop.
Mike Watkins senior manager for retail at Nielsen says: “In recent weeks, Tesco’s performance has started to stabilise, attracting new customers, which suggests that shoppers are responding to its current money-saving initiatives. What’s more, we expect shoppers to take the opportunity to shop at a range of Tesco store formats in order to spread the cost of their shop across the month.”
Across the board, shoppers are becoming ever-more promiscuous as they seek out the best bargains and take advantage of the high number of goods on promotion. Nielsen claims 34% of all goods sold at UK supermarkets are on promotion as retailers look to support sales with promotional activity and discount vouchers.
Watkins adds: “Shopper promiscuity continues, with nearly all retailers seeing a small growth in their shopper numbers, but the challenge now is for them to convert this footfall into increased sales.”
Year-on-year value growth across the sector slowed to +2.3% February, down from +3.5% in the previous month.
Volume growth also slowed to -1.4%, from -0.2% in the previous four weeks.
Supermarkets at both ends of the sector continue to gain the most market share as Aldi, Lidl, Asda and Waitrose outperform the market. Value of sales at Asda increased 8%, in the three months to 3 March, while Lidl and Aldi both reported double figure growth. Sainsbury’s and Morrisons reported 4.7 and 3.7% increases respectively.
Morrisons share remained flat (11.3%), while Sainsbury’s increased modestly to 16.1% from 16% a year ago. Asda’s share increased to 16.7% up from 16% during the period.