Dunnes Stores surges in grocery stakes but SuperValu still on top
SuperValu has retained its position as the country's biggest grocery retailer, with a 25pc share of the market, according to new figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel.
And Dunnes Stores - the country's third biggest grocery retailer - has continued to fight back to regain lost ground, adding an extra €3m a week in sales during the last quarter, according to the data, which covers the 12 weeks to February 28.
The resurgence at Dunnes threatens to nudge Tesco into third place in the grocery retailer ranks here, which would mark a stark reversal of Tesco's dominance of the Irish market for almost a decade.
SuperValu, the brand which is controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group, saw its share of Ireland's multi-billion euro grocery market rise from 24.9pc in the corresponding 12-week period a year earlier. The value of its sales rose 3.7pc in the period.
The chain has now held the top grocery retail spot consistently since November, having first secured it earlier last year.
Tesco had a 24.2pc share of the market in the latest period, compared to 25pc a year earlier.
In the latest period, the value of its sales in Ireland rose 0.6pc. That was much lower than the 2.6pc rate of grocery inflation that Kantar Worldpanel said the market experienced in the 12-week period.
Despite that, it's the third successive period of growth reported for Tesco, driven by increased shopper visits.
Dunnes Stores, which has been revamping its offering, had a 24.1pc share of the market in the period to the end of February. That compares to a 23.4pc share it had a year earlier. The value of its sales jumped 7pc in the period.
Dunnes, headed by Margaret Heffernan and Frank Dunne, has made two acquisitions recently, having bought the small Café Sol chain, and also Tipperary-based Whelan Meat and Food Processors. The Tipperary business also operates butchers that are based in three Avoca stores.
"Bigger baskets remain the primary driver of growth for Dunnes, with the average shopping trip now coming to €37.60, almost €2.50 higher than last year," said David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel.
Mr Berry added that across the grocery sector, shoppers don't appear to be deterred by rising prices, increasing their spending well ahead of the rate of inflation.
He also said that increased sales were seen amongst lines including fish, sales of which were 13pc higher, while fruit and nut sales were 17pc higher year-on-year.
"However, we're still looking to treat ourselves too," said Mr Berry. "Sales of chocolate confectionery were up 14pc this quarter, while ice cream saw a 13pc sales increase compared to the same period last year."
Lidl and Aldi also continued to perform well.
At the end of the latest period, each retailer had an 8.1pc share of the market.
The value of sales at Lidl rose 10.6pc year-on-year, and were 3pc higher at Aldi.
"Over 66pc of Irish households shopped in a Lidl store in the past 12 weeks, compared with less than 60pc five years ago," said Mr Berry.
"Aldi's growth is more modest but remains impressive, with larger shopping trips increasing sales by 3pc."