Sainsbury’s was the best performer of the ‘big four’ supermarkets in the latest market share figures for the grocery sector.

The latest TNS Worldpanel grocery market share figures, published today for the 12 weeks ending 19 April 2009, continue to show the resilience of the grocery sector with a year-on-year growth rate of 6.2%.

Sainsbury’s was the best performing of the leading supermarkets with a growth rate of 8.1%, which was well ahead of the market and has lifted their share from 16.1% a year ago to 16.3% today.

Both Asda and Morrisons have grown ahead of the market and lifted their shares by 0.3 and 0.1 points to 17.2% and 11.5% respectively. But Tesco saw its market share fall 0.5% to 30.6%.

Ed Garner, director of TNS Worldpanel said: ‘Whilst Sainsbury’s has maintained its ethical stance on issues like Fairtrade and free range, they have also fielded some aggressive promotions on the run-up to Easter together with featuring their Basics range.’

The discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl continued to deliver double digit growth of 13.6% and 12.3% respectively but the expansion of the sector has slowed from the highs of last year – together with Netto the Discount sector holds 6.0% of the Grocery Market, up from 5.7% a year ago.

Waitrose also has returned to growth, albeit behind the market at 3.2%. Garner added that this was possibly a sign that ‘shoppers’ panic response to the recession is being replaced by a sense of proportion, helped by promotions and the introduction of the Essentials range.