Growth in consumer spending in the grocery market is slowing, according to figures compiled by TNS Worldpanel.

Market growth dipped to 3% in the 12 weeks ending 12 August, down from the three-year peak of 6% for the period ending 20 May. The downturn, says TNS, reflects renewed concentration on price competition, as embodied by the latest Tesco Swingometer adverts.

In contrast, the bread market was up 8.62% in value in the year to 15 July compared with the same period of 2006. The volume, however, was down 2.04%.

Despite the fall in overall growth, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all exceeded the total market growth rate, so that they now account for nearly 65% of the grocery market. Independents also outperformed the market, their share rising from 2.7% to 2.8%.

Somerfield was the main loser, an 8% sales decline bringing its share down to 3.9% from 4.4% a year ago. Its own ers have recently announced refinancing and store acquisition plans.