Who won this week's Supermarket Sweep?

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Supermarkets
With the exception of Asda, all of the biggest retailers have revealed how they did in the run up to Christmas. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

The biggest names in retail have now pretty much revealed how they did in the critical run up to Christmas. The one big exception is Asda who report at different times because they are owned by American megafirm, Walmart.

So, how did they do?

Tesco
A return to form for Tesco. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

For Tesco, it has been a return to form. This time last year the rather new boss, Philip Clarke, had to give the company's first profit warning in years and unveil a fall in UK sales. This morning he could not sound more different.

Sales are on the way back up. New parts of the business like Click and Collect, the drive through shopping pick up, are succeeding, and while he is of course biased, Tesco is back 'on form'.

It won't be an easy year, he says he expects things to get harder for consumers, but the pressure on Clarke has certainly eased with the business coming back.

M&S
M&S reported a fall in overall sales. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

In contrast, M&S didn't just have to report a fall in overall sales, they did so in a way that suggests chaos and anxiety inside the firm.

In an entirely unprecedented way they rushed out their full report after some of the numbers were leaked. And it is just the latest in a series of numbers that have been disappointing, all while the the boss, Marc Bolland is meant to be in the middle of a three year plan to turn around the business.

Pressure on the boss to deliver progress so far is sure to build.

Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's have delivered 32 quarters of growth in a row. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive

Sainsbury's had a decent Christmas, with sales still growing, a staggering 32 quarters of growth in a row.

But it is worth noting that the speed of that growth is slowing, and with Tesco starting again to find its stride it may be harder for them to keep up the cracking pace their chief executive, Justin King has set.

Morrisons
Morrisons are struggling to keep up with competitors. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

While Morrisons, as we reported earlier this week, are struggling to keep up with the pack at all.

Without a full online service and only a handful of convenience stores they fell behind and boss, Dalton Phillips is now under real scrutiny.

Waitrose
Waitrose enjoyed another good Christmas. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

At the top end of the market Waitrose continued along its recent successful path. They had another good Christmas, and despite the pressure on family budgets, there is no sign that the appetite for more upmarket groceries is fading at all.

Aldi
Aldi delivered a striking performance. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The most striking performance though was perhaps from Aldi, at the budget end of the market.

According to research from consumer experts Kantar, rather than their results, sales grew a whopping 30%.

Across the board several trends emerge. Online is still a small share of the market but the growth is impressive, particularly for services like 'Click and Collect' where you order things online, then pick them up at a collection point. A combination of old and new shopping styles that is proving extremely popular.

We are less loyal as customers compared to days gone by. More people are shopping more frequently, at different chains and in different ways. The old habit of going to the same supermarket at the same time every week and buying the same goods is fading.

And supermarkets who have successful loyalty schemes are targeting consumers in a more and more personalised way.

And even though some of them are recording their own success, none expects 2013 to be any easier than 2012 for customers.

These big chains who know how consumers are behaving intimately, and report how consumers are watching every penny. Philip Clarke suggested this morning the next twelve months could be even tougher for household budgets.