The latest TNS figures on the UK grocery market cast a positive light on trading over the Christmas period. For the 12 weeks to 27 December 2009, the major multiples achieved higher sales than the comparable figures in 2007.

Waitrose, in particular, saw a large sales rise - up 16.5%, while the Co-operative’s were up 13.1%, Morrisons rose 10.3% and Sainsbury’s sales increased 6.9%.

According to TNS, Waitrose’ sales hike was the highest recorded growth for the supermarket in both market share and turnover since August 2005.

Edward Garner, communications director at TNS Worldpanel, said that in 2008 the recession put a stop to consumers prioritising the quality of food over its value.

“But we are now seeing signs of a return to more traditional Christmas purchasing habits with a growth in Premium ranges, particularly Tesco Finest, over the festive period,” said Garner.