Individual market shares across the board have fallen year on year with the exception of the German discounters and Iceland, the latest Kantar Worldpanel market snapshot shows.

Sales across the piece increased 3.1% in value, marginally below like-for-like grocery inflation which remained at 3.2% in the 12 weeks to October 8.

Symbols and independents suffered a one percentage point fall in market share to 1.8% compared with the same period last year increasing sales by just 0.1% - the smallest growth among the group of 12 monitored.

They fared better, however than the Co-op, which saw sales fall 2.5% to £1.58bn. All others, apart from “other multiples” enjoyed sales growth with Lid surging 16% to £1.33bn and Aldi, 13.4% to £1.74bn.

Christmas appears to have started particularly early with £69m of chocolate confectionary boxes sold in the last four weeks – a near threefold increase on sales in August.

Mince pies reached sales of £4m and Christmas puddings £1.1m.

Recent stories about the poultry supply chain have not materially dented chicken sales, according to Kantar – fresh poultry sales remained flat in September, while chilled processed poultry increased in value by 6%.

Kantar said consumers could welcome a slowdown in price rises in the new year, with the grocery inflation rate projected to fall below 2% in the first quarter.

Nielsen has meanwhile reported that the amount people are spending on groceries is far outstripping the number of items they are buying.

Nielsen said supermarkets saw sales revenue rose 3.9% year on year in the four weeks ending October 7. Volume of goods sold increased 1.6% but excluding the discounters, volumes did not increase at all.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight said: “We expect people to shop around for their Christmas groceries and make more visits to retailers offering promotions, which may benefit the supermarkets who’ve wider seasonal ranges and a variety of store formats including online.”