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Offers save supermarket users £182m

Shoppers have saved a combined £182 million on grocery offers in the past three months amid supermarket price wars, industry figures showed today.

Despite the savings, latest till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel said the market returned to 0.1% growth in the 12 weeks to December 7 as shoppers put slightly more goods in their baskets.

The market remained competitive as all of Britain's big four grocers saw sales fall in the period, while German discounters Aldi and Lidl hit a record combined market share of 8.6%.

Tesco, which issued its fourth profit warning in five months last week, saw sales fall 2.7%, while its market share slipped to 29.1% from 29.9% a year ago.

Sales at Sainsbury's fell 1.8%, with its market share dropping to 16.5% from 16.8%. Morrisons was the worst performer of the big four after its sales slumped 3.2% and its market share declined to 11.2% from 11.6%.

Asda, owned by giant US retailer Wal-Mart, fared the best with its sales falling 1% and market share slipping to 16.7% from 16.9%.

The discounters continued to go from strength to strength with Aldi recording the fastest sales growth of any retailer at 22.3% and Lidl not far behind at 18.3%. Aldi and Lidl posted market shares of 4.9% and 3.7% respectively.

Kantar Worldpanel head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said: "Britain's supermarket price war is ramping up ahead of the all-important Christmas period.

"Cheaper groceries are an early Christmas present for shoppers, saving them £182 million in the past 12 weeks alone but this puts pressure on the supermarkets. We expect grocery deflation to continue well into 2015 as the price war rumbles on."

At the top end of the market Waitrose saw sales grow 6%, an unbroken pattern of rising sales that stretches back to February 2009. Its market share lifted to 5% from 4.7% a year ago.

Kantar said grocery inflation saw its 15th successive fall and now stands at minus 0.7%.

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