Shifting sands underscore dramatic change since Aldi and Lidl arrived
Published 14/04/2015 | 02:30
So who really is the biggest grocery retailer in Ireland? It's important to note that the Kantar market share figures show which retailer controls what share of the grocery market based on the value of goods sold.
Industry insiders say that Dunnes Stores for instance, which for well over a year has been running major money-back voucher schemes that have cost it tens of millions of euro, has done extraordinarily well from this.
Its sales volumes could be up significantly as a result, but because there's less money going through the tills, it remains in third position in the rankings based on the value of groceries sold.
Likewise, the Kantar figures show that Aldi and Lidl control a combined 16.9pc of the grocery market based on sales. Again, if we had an idea of the volume of sales, the picture might be very different.
Some industry sources reckon the pair could have a combined share of the market approaching 25pc based on the volume of goods sold.
Regardless, the Kantar figures will spark concern at Tesco's Irish HQ in Dún Laoghaire. Since it first entered the Irish market in 1997, with the acquisition of Quinnsworth, Tesco has proved a dominant force in Irish retailing.
It's easy to brush off losing the top spot, but the shifting sands of the grocery market underscore the dramatic change in the sector since the arrival of Aldi and Lidl to Ireland. While many middle-class shoppers may have first turned their noses up at the chains, shopping there is now, more than ever after the economic downturn, seen as a badge of honour.
It's a significant challenge, not only for Tesco, but for SuperValu and Dunnes also.
Dunnes is arguably in a more precarious position. Its operational infrastructure lags that of Tesco, making it have to work harder to stay ahead.
And Tesco is a global juggernaut. It may have lost its way recently, but eventually it will be back on track, with rivals in its sights.