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UK supermarkets experienced the worst Christmas period since 2015 as sales growth amongst the leading discount chains Lidl and Aldi failed to offset falling sales among the top four supermarkets.

The ‘big four’– Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Asda – all suffered lower sales over Christmas while the German discount supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl, continued to eat into their lead with a combined market share of 13.7%. This has more than trebled since 2009, according to figures from Kantar.

Sainsburys was the best performer of the big four with like-for-like sales down just 0.7%, which it blamed on falling toy sales in its Argos business. Morrisons’ sales dropped 1.7%; it cited sustained customer uncertainty. Meanwhile, Aldi pointed to alcohol sales and the popularity of its premium ranges as key growth drivers.