Of Tesco’s chief rivals, Sainsbury’s fared the best, posting a 0.4pc sales drop during the period. Sales fell 3pc at Morrisons, which has shut stores during the last year, reducing its share of the market. Asda continued to trough, with sales down 5.2pc.

German discounters Aldi and Lidl, which have been grabbing market share by opening dozens of new stores, showed sales growth of 11.4pc and 8.4pc respectively.

Meanwhile Waitrose posted growth of 3.5pc, helped by a half-price promotion in September, while the Co-op’s recent rebrand paid off with a 3.1pc lift. “The convenience retailer is responding to challenges from the wider market by focusing on its own-label lines, with its re-launched membership card rewarding shoppers who choose Co-op’s own products,” said Mr McKevitt.

Iceland’s sales growth of 6.9pc was spurred by an increase in its chilled and ambient ranges, as it moves away from its traditional frozen goods; according to Kantar, frozen products made up just 41pc of its sales during the period.

Tesco shares rose 1.7pc in morning trade.

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