Consumers indulged a little more this Easter
Irish shoppers splashed the cash this Easter - snapping up seasonal fare in far greater volumes than 2016, even though grocery prices remain flat.
The big grocers benefited as shoppers spent 24pc more on packaged hotcross buns, 10pc more on fresh lamb and snapped up fancier Easter eggs this year, according to figures from retail expert Kantar Worldpanel.
The extra spending was boosted by Easter falling late, bringing warmer weather and extra time for consumers to repair Christmas-battered bank accounts. The latest figures show the big three grocery chains remain locked in a battle for the weekly shop.
SuperValu remained Ireland's largest grocer for the second period in a row, with a 22.8pc market share, just ahead of Dunnes and Tesco.
Dunnes Stores clocked up the strongest growth among big retailers with sales up 5.1pc since last year. Many shoppers, however, are increasingly spreading their shopping through the week, boosting smaller players who are gaining share against the supermarkets.
Convenience retailer XL recorded sales of €315m in 2016, also up 5pc on the previous year, and marking six years of consecutive growth for the brand.
XL has 250 stores nationwide and employs almost 2,500 people. Owner-operated XL stores are linked to Leo Crawford's BWG, whose management is set to reveal a new growth strategy for the brand at its annual retailer conference in Kilkenny this week, including a €1m investment programme.
Meanwhile, economic conditions are improving but the mood of consumers did not change last month.
One-in-four consumers is reporting an improvement in their financial circumstances.
But they are still cautious about the future, according to the latest KBC Bank/ESRI consumer sentiment index.