Supermarket sales have increased in value by 3.1% year on year, due to Christmas being just around the corner and grocery inflation, which now stands at its highest level since 2013, at 3.6%.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, the biggest four grocers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons) saw collective growth of 1.9% during the past 12 weeks, making this the ninth consecutive period of increasing sales for the UK’s largest retailers.

However, Aldi reclaimed its crown as Britain’s fastest growing grocer during the latest quarter, with sales up 15.1% year on year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “This performance places the retailer marginally ahead of Lidl, which grew sales by 14.5% during the past 12 weeks.

“Aldi’s Specially Selected line was the UK’s fastest growing premium own label brand during the past 12 weeks, enjoying a healthy sales increase of 25%.”

Tesco, with sales up 2.5% compared to this time last year, was the fastest growing of the four, and despite its market share falling by 0.1% to 28.2%, it remains Britain’s most-visited retailer – welcoming 21 million households during the latest quarter.

Sainsbury’s grew sales by 2.0% year on year, with its market share falling to 16.3%.

Meanwhile, Morrisons’ market share fell to 10.6%, despite a sales boost of 1.4% year on year, and sales also grew at Asda – up 1.2% – with market share down by 0.3%.

Waitrose and Iceland both increased sales, up by 1.6% and 1.3% respectively; Co-op’s sales fell by 1.5%, taking market share down 0.3 percentage points to 6%.

In the meantime, although online grocery sales growth has slowed to 2.8% during the past 12 weeks, it is still likely to be a record December for grocery e-commerce, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Internet specialist Ocado grew ahead of the online market during the latest quarter, with sales being up by 5.2%, as market share remained flat year on year at 1.3%.

Looking at the Christmas trading season, McKevitt noted: “Christmas day falls on a Monday this year – last time that happened, in 2006, the Friday before was the most popular day for grocery shopping that year.

“If we see a similar pattern in 2017, Friday 22nd December is likely to win out as the grocers enjoy not only the biggest shopping day of 2017, but the most successful ever recorded.”