The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show a record-breaking £2.5 billion was spent during the Easter week, which is the fastest rate of growth the overall sector has experienced in 2019.

Total year-on-year sales increased by 2.0% during the 12 weeks to 21st April 2019.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, commented: “Shoppers indulged in £335 million worth of Easter eggs and seasonal chocolate during the 12 weeks and the average household took home 10 such treats during the longer build up from February to the holiday weekend.

“The warm weather over the Easter break helped boost sales of ice cream by 8% and a growth of 8.6% pushed Lidl’s market share to a new high of 5.7%, up 0.3 percentage points compared with last year.”

Half of Lidl’s sales now come from the fresh and chilled aisles and its performance this period was fuelled by customers spending an extra £14 million on dairy items and £13 million on fruit, vegetables and salads.

Fellow discounter Aldi was again the fastest growing supermarket, a position it has held since July 2018.

Aldi attracted an additional 823,000 shoppers through its doors to grow sales by 11.6% and increase its market share by 0.6 percentage points to 7.9%.

Co-op and Ocado were the only other retailers to gain market share on last year, moving to 6.1% and 1.3% respectively.

McKevitt added: “As the dust settles following last week’s CMA decision, Tesco’s position as the UK’s largest supermarket remains secure.

“More than three quarters of British households visited Tesco in the past 12 weeks, over five million more than each of its two closest rivals.

“Though sales were up 1.0%, growth was behind the market which meant a loss of share compared with last year to 27.3%.”

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s and Asda are continuing to battle it out for second place.

Two thirds of the public were aware of the proposed merger: the majority of those who knew about the Competitions and Mergers Authority (CMA) ruling didn’t have an opinion as to whether it was a good or bad outcome, while only one third welcomed the decision.

Sainsbury’s reclaimed second position despite a sales decline of 1.2%, whilst Asda increased sales by 0.3% to take market share of 15.2%.

McKevitt concluded: “The average Asda shopping basket increased in value and shoppers visited more often. Asda remains strong in its northern heartland with the north of England and Scotland accounting for more than 40% of sales.

“Despite movement at the top of the table, the phrase ‘big four’ continues to hold meaning and Morrisons’ 10.3% market share means it sits comfortably ahead of the fifth largest retailer, Aldi.

“Sales at Iceland and Waitrose rose by 1.4% and 0.7% respectively with Iceland holding market share of 2.1% and Waitrose falling back by 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%.”