* Tesco UK market share 30.8 pct in 12 weeks to Sept. 2 * Asda remains fastest growing of big four grocers * Grocery inflation 2.9 pct LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The recovery plan unveiled by Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, after a profit warning in January is showing signs of working, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said Tesco's share of the grocery market edged down 0.1 percentage point year-on-year to 30.8 percent in the 12 weeks to Sept. 2. This was "a relatively small decline compared with most of 2012 and evidence of some success in its fight-back," Kantar director Edward Garner said.
In April, Tesco slashed expansion plans for its British chain and said it would spend over 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) improving stores and online shopping in a bid to reverse a decline in market share. Tesco's sales rose 2.8 percent over the 12-week period,Kantar said, behind growth of 4.5 percent at Wal-Mart's Asda, Britain's No. 2 supermarket chain, and growth of 3.8 percent at Sainsbury, the No. 3 player. Wm Morrison Supermarkets, Britain's No. 4 grocer, was the laggard, with growth of 1.1 percent, reflecting its lack of an online offer and only a small number of convenience outlets.
Kantar said the total grocery market grew 3.3 percent over the 12 weeks, above its inflation measure of 2.9 percent.
"Despite ongoing pressures, things seem to be looking up in the grocery market and shoppers are not having to trade down to the same extent as they have done over the past year," said Garner.
However, Kantar noted the inflation measure may have bottomed out with poor grain harvests driving inflationary spikes ahead. Following is a summary of market share and sales (pounds):
12 wks to 12 wks to pct change Sept 2 2012 Sept 4 2011 Total till roll 30.79 bln 30.15 bln 2.1 pct Total grocers 23.49 bln 22.74 bln 3.3 pct Total multiples 22.98 bln 22.22 bln 3.4 pct Market share (percent) 12 wks to 12 wks to pct change Sept 2 2012 Sept 4 2011 in sales Tesco 30.8 30.9 2.8 Asda 17.6 17.4 4.5 Sainsbury 16.4 16.3 3.8 Morrison 11.5 11.7 1.1 Co-operative 6.8 7.1 -1.2 Waitrose 4.6 4.4 7.8 Aldi 2.9 2.4 26.6 Lidl 2.8 2.6 10.9 Iceland 2.0 1.9 8.5