Jamie Oliver helps Sainsbury's to a winning Christmas

Sainsbury's was this year's Christmas winner after its Jamie Oliver fronted advertising campaign helped the group outshine rivals, according to research today.

Sainsbury's beat its supermarket competitors to claim the biggest rise in market share, up from 14.9% to 15.4% in the 12 weeks to December 25, figures from market research firm Nielsen showed.

The group's performance left larger rivals Asda and Tesco in the shade, despite spending the least of the "big four" players on advertising over the Christmas period.

Nielsen figures showed Sainsbury's spent around £24.8 million on advertising over the October to December quarter in a pre-Christmas campaign led once again by celebrity chef and television personality Jamie Oliver.

Asda forked out the most on ads, at £40.5 million, but failed to boost its market share, which held firm at 15.8%.

The UK's biggest supermarket Tesco, which splashed out £38.3 million on advertising, managed to increase its share of festive spend to 27.8% from 27.6% a year earlier.

Today's market share data comes ahead of keenly-awaited trading updates next week from Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, when the chains will reveal how they fared amid the snow and ice.

Nielsen said sales grew across the food retail sector by 6.9% in December thanks to a record-breaking performance in the week before Christmas, which made up for lacklustre trade during the severe weather earlier in the month.

Sales soared by 16% to £3.4 billion in the week to December 25 as shoppers rushed out after the snow and ice thawed - the largest sales week ever recorded by Nielsen.

But it looked a tougher year for Morrisons, the fourth biggest chain, which saw its market share slip to 10.8% from 11% in a reversal of 2009 when it claimed the top spot.

This came despite Morrisons spending £26.8 million on ads in the run-up to Christmas, according to the Nielsen data covering all spend in October and November, but not cinema, online, outdoor or direct mail ad spend in December.

A star-studded campaign for Marks & Spencer - featuring the likes of comedian Peter Kay, Twiggy and Dannii Minogue - helped the retailer hold its share steady at 3.7% in the 12-week period.

Premium food chain Waitrose increased its share to 3.8% from 3.6%.

Mike Watkins, senior manager of retailer services at Nielsen, said: "The weather gave us a white Christmas, but we had an orange Christmas where supermarkets were concerned.

"Sainsbury's expansion programme that has created additional in-store space, much given over to non-food merchandise, would have certainly contributed to this success in addition to the retailer's long-standing reputation in fresh food and private label quality."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine