London: More than half of Britain’s households shopped in discount grocers Aldi or Lidl over the past 12 weeks as the country’s “big four” supermarkets continued to lose market share, monthly data show.

Some 50.1 per cent of British households stepped into one of the discounters in the 12 weeks to December 8, up from 46.1 per cent in the same period a year ago, market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said.

Aldi now boasts a record 4 per cent of Britain’s grocery market, having increased its share for nearly every 12-week period since the end of 2010. Lidl retained its record share of 3.1 per cent it reached in the summer.

“Both Aldi and Lidl have continued to record double-digit [year-on-year sales] growth and are successfully broadening their shopper base,” Kantar director Chris Longbottom said.

“Value continues to be a powerful incentive for the British shopper, a fact that is further highlighted by Farmfoods which, while still a relatively small player in the market, has grown its sales by 36.6 per cent compared with last year.”

Of the big four grocers J Sainsbury, battling with Wal-Mart’s Asda to be Britain’s second largest grocer, was the best performer, though its year-on-year sales growth of 1.8 per cent was insufficient to match the overall market growth of 2.8 per cent. Market leader Tesco posted sales growth of 0.4 per cent, Asda 0.6 per cent and Wm Morrison, the No. 4 player, 0.8 per cent.

Tesco’s outcome will add to concerns over the effectiveness of a turnaround plan that has seen over £1 billion (Dh6 billion) invested in its home market.

Earlier this month, Tesco reported a 1.3 per cent fall in third quarter underlying UK sales. Upmarket grocer Waitrose, the No. 6 player, continued to do well with sales growth of 6.7 per cent.

The Co-Operative, the No. 5, whose parent has just secured a financial rescue deal for its banking arm, saw sales fall 0.7 per cent. Kantar said grocery inflation was 3.0 per cent for the 12-week period, the lowest level for a year.