The independent retail sector may be finding its niche after decades of pressure from the multiples, according to the latest TNS data.

TNS Worldpanel grocery market share figures, published for the 12 weeks ending 17 June 2007, found that the independent sector’s share is stable with growth rates of 8%.

Edward Garner, director of research, added that Sainsbury’s and Asda were showing higher percentage growth rates than Tesco, although Tesco still dominates. Morrisons continues to be stable with the 14th successive period of year-on-year growth.

Kwik Save, which is awaiting an administration hearing, has seen its share all but disappear after closing 82 stores, said Garner.

A reported slow down in spending on groceries is not reflected in the figures, he added. "We will need to watch market shifts closely to assess whether the reports are a seasonal glitch or a long-term change in spending habits."