LONDON (Reuters) - Asda achieved the strongest sales growth among Britain's big four supermarket chains in the Christmas quarter, though all lost market share to discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Researcher Nielsen said that sales at Walmart's <WMT.N> Asda, which has agreed to be taken over by bigger rival Sainsbury's <SBRY.L>, rose 0.8 percent year on year in the 12 weeks to Dec. 29.
Market leader Tesco <TSCO.L> chalked up a 0.4 percent increase, but sales at Sainsbury's and Morrisons fell 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.
In contrast, the Aldi and Lidl lifted sales by a hefty 11.7 percent and 13.6 percent respectively, taking their combined market share to 13.9 percent.
Overall retail sales growth slowed to 1.8 percent in the four weeks to Dec. 29, Nielsen said.
"Consumer grocery shopping habits are changing, with shoppers now opting to spend less on doing one big shop; instead preferring more frequent, smaller trips to the supermarket, spreading the cost across multiple retailers to increase choice," said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight.
Rival market researcher Kantar Worldpanel will also publish supermarket sales data for the Christmas period on Tuesday. Morrisons has also published its Christmas trading update and Aldi provided its update on Monday.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Goodman)