The ‘big four’ supermarkets are being squeezed between discounters and Waitrose, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

The research company’s grocery share figures for the 12 weeks ending 15 September 2013 showed that, of the four main multiple retailers, only Sainsbury’s increased its market share from 16.4% to 16.6% compared to the same period the previous year. Tesco, Asda and Morrisons saw their market share decline, while Waitrose, Lidle and Aldi all saw gains.

Sales at Waitrose increased 9.7% compared to last year, giving the premium retailer a 4.9% market share (up from 4.6%), while Aldi and Lidl saw sales leap 32.7% and 14.3%, respectively. Aldi had a 3.7% share of the grocery market (up from 2.9%) and Lidl had 3% (up from 2.8%).

Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Strong performances by retailers at both ends of the market pose a significant challenge for the big four supermarkets. The combined growth of Lidl, Aldi and Waitrose has taken three market share points out of the grocery market over the past three years and is forcing the major supermarkets to compete for an ever-smaller middle ground. 

“Price-match promotions such as Asda’s ‘Price Guarantee’, Sainsbury’s ‘Brand Match’ and Tesco’s ‘Price Promise’ have meant that price is less of a differentiator and shoppers cannot be convinced to switch outlets based on cost alone.”