Britain’s four largest food retailers – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – enjoyed a bumper Christmas last year, all experienced double digit growth in the two weeks over the festive period as the as the grocery market grew by 11% compared to 2005.

Tesco, Britain’s biggest grocery retailer with 32% of the market, saw group sales, excluding petrol, increase by 9.9% in the six weeks to 6 January 2007.  Like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, over the same period grew 5.9%. 

Many customers chose to trade-up for the Christmas period pushing sales of Tesco Finest and Organic ranges to new levels.  Sales of fresh organic foods were up 39% and Finest meat and poultry sales grew by over 55%, compared with 2005.

Sainsbury’s, Britain’s thrid largest retailer with 16.5% of the grocery market, also enjoyed Christmas. Total sales for quarter three of 2006 grew 6.8%, excluding fuel with like-for-like sales up 5% with Sainsbury serving more than 20 million customers in the Christmas week.

Sales of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range grew by about 20% and it sold twice as many British organic and Taste the Difference turkeys compared to last year.

Edward Garner, research director for TNS Worldpanel said: “Prior to Christmas we predicted Britons would spend £3.8b on household goods in the Christmas week and our latest figures confirm that all the major supermarkets did indeed have an excellent Christmas.”

Trading results for Asda, Britain’s second biggest grocery retailer with 16.9% of the market, and Morrisons, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket with 11% of the grocery market, for the Christmas period were not available.