Dunnes boosts market share to remain second largest grocer
ALDI pulled away from Lidl to become the fourth biggest supermarket in Ireland by sales while Dunnes also boosted its market share to secure its position as the country's second largest grocery retailer, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel.
The new figures, which reflect sales during the crucial Christmas period, show that Dunnes increased its share of the market in the 12 weeks before Christmas to 24.3pc from 23.9pc as sales expanded 1.9pc or almost six times more than the market average.
The surge in Dunnes sales comes after a period of relative decline which saw rivals such as Aldi and Lidl eat away at the company's market share.
"The strong performance of Dunnes comes after a prolonged period of under-performance, with market share hitting a low point of 21.4pc in September," said Kantar Worldpanel commercial director David Berry. "The boost in share over Christmas has regained some of this lost ground and places the retailer in a more competitive position for 2013."
Growth across the grocery sector remains subdued at just 0.3pc despite food inflation running at 5pc. The poor harvest has halved potato crops in some parts of Europe and led to the worst harvest of wheat in a generation.
"One of the biggest factors influencing the price of groceries is the poor growing conditions seen during the summer of 2012," Mr Berry said. "Vegetables are an important part of the grocery basket, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, and we have seen some sharp price increases.
"With an extra €17m spent on Christmas 'must haves' like sprouts and potatoes, there has been less of the household budget available for 'treat' groceries such as soft drinks and confectionery."
Aldi has been pulling away from fellow German discount supermarket Lidl in recent months and experienced growth of around 30pc in 2012.
The two were ranked as equal last time a survey was done but Aldi has been growing at a faster clip than any rival for sometime – something that is causing consternation within the sector and leading market research companies to stop customers leaving stores and examine receipts to try and analyse what they are buying.
That surge allowed the company to overtake Lidl for the first time, becoming the fourth ranked grocery retailer in the state.
While the two German discounters accounted for one in nine euro spent on groceries in the State in October, the latest survey suggests shoppers turned to traditional stores over the Christmas period to push down the German stores' combined market share to 11.9pc.
Elsewhere, Tesco and SuperValu have both performed broadly in line with the market, with Tesco holding market share at 27.8pc and SuperValu – which is owned by the Cork-based Musgrave group – dipping marginally to 19.5pc.
Superquinn, which is also owned by Musgraves, and has been losing market share for some time, continued to lose market share although the pace slowed which resulted in a better Christmas for the retailer compared with 2009 to 2011.