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Tesco's woes continue as sales fall

Tesco suffered a further knock yesterday as it emerged the supermarket’s sales fell 4.5% in the 12 weeks to September 14.

It comes after Tesco revealed it overstated its profit forecast for the first half of the year by £250m and announced it would parachute in new chief financial officer Alan Stewart, who joins from Marks & Spencer, two months earlier than planned.

Asda was the only one of the big four supermarkets to record growth during the period, with sales up 0.8% compared with last year, according to figures from analysts Kantar Worldpanel.

Discount chains Aldi and Lidl continued to outperform their major rivals, with sales increases of 29.1% and 17.7% respectively. Their combined market share grew from 6.7% to 8.3%.

Asda increased its market share from 17.3% in 2013 to 17.4%, while Tesco’s market share fell from 30.2% to 28.8%.

Sainsbury’s share fell slightly from 16.6% to 16.2%, with sales down 1.8%, while Morrisons’ dropped from 11.1% to 10.9% and sales were down 1.3%.

Overall, growth in the supermarket sector slowed to a record low of 0.3% as price inflation fell to zero. No breakdown was provided for fashion sales.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Consumers are currently benefiting from intense price competition between the grocers. For the first time ever we’ve seen the average basket of everyday goods bought today costing exactly the same as it did a year ago.”

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