Bradford-based Morrisons has benefited from a 30 per cent jump in online sales in London and the South as Southerners get a taste for Morrisons' bargains. "The biggest wins came from ambient and fresh food products with cakes and pastries and fruit both up by ten per cent. Southern sales are not almost as strong as they are in Morrisons' heartlands, but they are catching up".
"They now account for 45 per cent of sales, with Asda's value-focused Farm Stores line and premium Extra Special range leading the charge".
Morrisons was the best performer of the big four, with sales up 2.8 per cent, followed by market leader Tesco's sales increase of 2.1 per cent.
Aside from mince pies, £69 million of chocolate confectionery boxes have been bought in the last four weeks - a near threefold increase on sales in August.
The early Christmas push has seen supermarket sales increase in value by 3.1% over the 12 weeks to 8 October 2017, compared with the same period a year ago.
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Discount chains Aldi and Lidl continued their strong runs, with sales up 13.4% and 16%, respectively. "Despite the growth, however, the retailer's overall market share fell by 0.1 percentage points to 10.3%".
The data showed that like-for-like grocery inflation remains at 3.2%, but the rate is projected to fall below 2% in the first quarter of 2018.
"The big question is the Brexit negotiations", said Mr McKevitt. Inflation in the period was 3.2 percent, Kantar said.
Elsewhere, Waitrose experienced a 2.3% increase in sales, but a 0.1% drop in market share, while sales at the Co-op fell by 2.5%, with a 0.3% drop in market share.
It is thought that around 370 million mince pies will be sold in the United Kingdom over the Christmas period each year.
Morrisons was the fastest growing of the large retailers, with sales up 2.8 per cent in the 12 weeks to 8 October, followed by Tesco, where sales grew by 2.1 per cent.