Aldi grows fastest but Dunnes still tops grocery table
Dunnes Stores has held onto its position as Ireland's biggest grocery retailer by market share in the 12 weeks to June 16.
New figures from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel, published yesterday, show all five of Ireland's leading supermarkets - Dunnes, Tesco, SuperValu, Aldi and Lidl - reported solid sales growth from the same period a year ago, despite less-than-stellar weather to start the summer.
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Aldi led the pack with a 13.3pc gain in sales versus the same period a year ago, to achieve an Irish-record 12.3pc market share, strengthening its lead over rival Lidl in the process.
Dunnes' robust 7.2pc sales growth helped keep it in the number-one position for the eighth straight month, with a 22.1pc market share, narrowly ahead of Tesco on 22pc, which posted a more modest 3pc increase in sales.
SuperValu - which from 2016 to 2018 frequently held or challenged for the top supermarket slot - posted the weakest growth in sales, 1.9pc, to remain third with a 21.1pc share. This was SuperValu's strongest growth figure since September.
"The average Dunnes shopper spent almost €20 more this period compared with the same time last year through a combination of higher prices, bigger trolleys and more frequent trips," said Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar.
"Shoppers on average bought an additional six items from Dunnes this period."
He said Tesco was also managing to tempt customers into its shops more frequently, but they were spending on average 80 cents less than a year ago.
Tesco's soft drinks promotions appeared to be performing the best, with carbonated beverages and mineral water sales growing by 17.5pc and 11.9pc respectively, he said.
The late arrival of summer cooled sector-wide sales of other products associated with outdoor parties and activities, with sales of ice-cream down by 9.2pc and sun care products by 38pc.
Mr Faughnan said the survey - which is based on the purchasing habits of 5,000 households across Ireland - showed sluggish growth in alcoholic drinks sales, particularly of cider, which had enjoyed a 14pc spike in sales during the sun-soaked 2018 World Cup, and just a 0.1pc gain in the most recent 12-week period.
"Last June was one of the hottest in years, with over 100 more hours of sunshine than the year before. The first half of June this year has been a different story, with fewer opportunities to sunbathe and socialise outdoors," Mr Faughnan said.
Aldi increased its lead over German discount rival Lidl in the latest survey. Lidl's 5.8pc sales gain kept it stuck in fifth place, on 11.7pc.
Lidl last stood level with Aldi on Kantar's rankings in November, when both held an 11.7pc market share. Before that, Lidl had held the upper hand since mid-2017.
Mr Faughnan said Aldi "has enjoyed particularly strong growth in more indulgent categories over the past 12 weeks. In particular, sales of biscuits grew by 20pc, chocolate confectionery by 50pc, and morning goods like croissants were up 23pc".
He said Lidl was maintaining an edge with its in-store bakeries, with sales of bread 18.2pc higher and fresh-baked goods as a whole 15pc higher.
Supermarkets' gains came at the expense of niche food retailers, convenience stores and corner shops.
This group - which includes M&S, Boots, Centra and Spar - saw sales dip 1.9pc and market share decline to 10.8pc from 11.5pc a year ago. Kantar said grocery prices have risen 3.1pc over the year.