By Gary Anderson

September 2 - Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has beneffited from its association with Paralympic sportBritish retailers Sainsbury's are still feeling the benefits of their sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympic Games according to monthly grocery industry data from Kantar Worldpanel.

The third-largest grocery chain in Britain grew its sales by 4.9 per cent in the 12 weeks to August 18 this year, outstripping the overall sector's 4.1 per cent growth and boosting its market share from 16.4 per cent to 16.5 per cent, while main rivals Tesco, Asda and Morrisons experienced a drop in market share according to the consumer research firm.

In May 2010, Sainsbury's became the first ever Tier One Paralympic-only sponsor when it signed a deal to sponsor the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

During last year's Games, the company's branding was extremely visible across all the venues during the London Paralympics, which have been widely regarded as the greatest Paralympic Games to date, and the brand also benefitted hugely from regular advertisements during television coverage on Channel 4.

In October 2012, just weeks after the end of the Games, Sainsbury's published its Quarter Trading Statement for the 16 weeks up to September 29, which showed that it had outperformed its main rivals by reporting a 1.9 per cent rise in like-for-like sales – excluding fuel but including VAT – compared with 1.4 per cent growth in the 12 weeks to June 9 2012.

Commenting on the latest figures, director of Kantar Worldpanel, John Coll said: "Sainsbury's has continued to grow ahead of the market.

"It benefited from its support of the Paralympics last year and its growth has continued since then.

"It now holds 16.5 per cent of the grocery market and it is the only one of the 'big four' supermarkets to make gains in share this period."

Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead crosses the line first at the Sainsburys Anniversary GamesParalympic champion Richard Whitehead crosses the line first at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games

Sainsbury's has continued its association with Paralympic sport after signing a four-year agreement in September 2012 to become an official commercial partner of the British Paralympic Association in a deal that started in January this year and includes the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Games.

The deal also included a commitment to promoting disability sport at schools and in local communities through its Active Kids For All campaign, while earlier this year the company was the title sponsor of three major athletics events called the Sainsbury's Summer Series, which saw Sainsbury's sponsor a Grand Prix event and the British Championships at Birmingham's Alexandra Stadium before the Anniversary Games, which took place at the Olympic Stadium from July 26 to 28.

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