Tesco still showing market share loss: Kantar

LONDON (Reuters) - Grocer Tesco <TSCO.L>, which is almost 1-1/2 years into a 1 billion pound ($1.60 billion) recovery plan, is still showing a year-on-year market share loss, monthly industry data showed on Tuesday.

Tesco's sales increased 1.9 percent in the 12 weeks to September 15, year-on-year, well below overall grocery market growth of 4.2 percent, market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said.

Britain's biggest grocer launched its investment plan in April 2012 following its first profit warning in over 20 years.

The latest sales figures gave Tesco a grocery market share of 30.2 percent. Though that matched the figure in Kantar's August report it was still down from 30.9 percent in the same 12-week period last year.

The firm will publish second quarter sales and first half results on October 2.

In June Tesco posted a drop in underlying first quarter sales in Britain, resuming a trend seen for most of the past three years.

The group is attempting to revive its fortunes in its home market by investing in stores, products and customer service, but has suffered a series of setbacks to its reputation, including the discovery across Europe of horsemeat in products labeled as beef.

It received more positive publicity on Monday when it launched a 119 pounds tablet computer called Hudl.

Kantar said J Sainsbury <SBRY.L>, the No. 3 player, was the only one of the "big four" grocers, which also includes No. 2 Wal-Mart's <WMT.N> Asda and No. 4 Morrisons <MRW.L>, to increase its market share over the past year, growing to 16.6 percent from 16.4 percent and recording market-beating growth of 5.1 percent.

The monthly data showed the budget and premium ends of the market continuing to grow.

Kantar said discounter Aldi saw year-on-year sales growth of 32.7 percent, another record, while John Lewis' <JLP.UL> upmarket grocer Waitrose achieved growth of 9.7 percent.

Kantar added that grocery inflation rose to 4.2 percent in the 12 week period.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)