'Shopping tarts' are a grocery chain's nightmare
Published 23/04/2015 | 02:30
I'm very lucky where I live. Within eight kilometres of my house I have a Dunnes Stores, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Supervalu, along with a variety of convenience stores. I also have a wonderful butcher and a greengrocer.
Depending on time, need and mood, I can decide where I want to spend my biggest weekly outlay. I have all the loyalty cards and scour the papers for the discounts. I am a shopping tart - and a grocery chain's nightmare.
You see, loyalty is something they desperately try and engender; they don't want you checking out the competition, but that's exactly what we're doing in our droves. Tesco's figures have shown their worst annual loss ever. Ireland only makes up a fraction of its business but it is down 6.3pc. Tesco is a great store - there's nothing you can't get there, and a heap of stuff you never thought you needed, so how is it possible?
It comes on the back of being overtaken by Supervalu in terms of market share; unthinkable a few years ago.
Its problem is that it no longer has what PR types call a Unique Selling Point. Where Lidl and Aldi had a slow start in Celtic Tiger Ireland, they've dropped prices and, crucially, kept building shops.
With a combined market share of more than 18pc, recession-hit shoppers have got over themselves and don't mind meeting their neighbours in the aisles.
Meanwhile, we might baulk at Dunnes' treatment of its workers, but they're "Irish" and we'll continue shopping there.
For me, it's down to size and spend - and big is not beautiful. I don't want to waste an hour doing 20 laps around the hypermarket that is my nearest Tesco. I don't want to get distracted by shoes or yoga mats.
So it's interesting to see Tesco's five new stores in Ireland last year were all 'convenience' type - smaller and easy to navigate.
Their online shopping business is up 16pc but between the two chains that offer it, it is still only around 6pc of the whole market.
Irish shoppers have got leaner and meaner - and now there's a smell of cash back in households, we've decided we want to be more careful where we spend it.