Tesco and Dunnes - Ireland's two biggest grocery chains - were trounced over Christmas by German discounters Aldi and Lidl as thrifty shoppers stretched their festive budgets.
Aldi and Lidl captured a combined 13.5pc share of Ireland's multi-billion euro grocery market during the 12 weeks to January 5, up from 11.6pc in the corresponding period the previous year. Aldi's market share soared 20.1pc to 7.1pc, while Lidl's jumped 12.2pc to 6.4pc.
The period marked another worrying performance for Tesco, whose position as Ireland's biggest grocery chain looks increasingly threatened. Its share of the market slumped 6.2pc in the latest period to 26.2pc, according to the latest figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel.
But its closest rival, Dunnes Stores, also saw its market share decline despite big voucher promotions. Its share fell 0.9pc to 23.9pc. That decline came following previous gains.
Musgrave-owned SuperValu was the only one of the big chains to record growth, with its market share rising 1.3pc to 20.1pc. That's the first time it breached the 20pc mark since October 2009. Musgrave's Superquinn chain - which will complete a name change to SuperValu in the next few weeks - got a pasting, with its share falling 6.4pc to 5.2pc.
David Berry, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel, described Christmas as a "bumper season" for SuperValu. He said its market share was helped by its strong sales of alcoholic beverages in the run-up to Christmas.
He said Aldi and Lidl had been the "big winners" in the latest 12-week period.
"The German retailers' December voucher campaigns in the Sunday newspapers look to have had a positive impact, with the average shop growing by more than €2 in each store," explained Mr Berry.
While Mr Berry said that the rate of decline of Tesco's market share had eased a little in the 12 weeks to January 5, it rounded off what has been a dismal year for the British retailer in Ireland.
Tesco's like-for-like sales in Ireland in the quarter to the end November 23 fell 8.1pc. That fall followed a 4.4pc decline during the second quarter and a 3pc fall in the first quarter.
More than €400m was wiped from its sales in Ireland last year compared to 2012.
Tesco said earlier this month that sales in Ireland improved in the last quarter compared to the previous three months, but are still trending negative.