DUNNES Stores managed to boost its share of Ireland's €9bn grocery market in October to 22.4pc, but the retailer still commands less of the market than it did a year ago, new figures show.
Data from research group Kantar Worldpanel shows Tesco remains the country's biggest grocery retailer, with a 28.3pc share. Aldi and Lidl now command over 12pc between them as consumers continue to spend more of their dwindling take-home pay at the German discounters.
During the 12 weeks to October 28, Kantar Worldpanel said Aldi continued to be the "standout performer" in the Irish grocery market. Its share of the market has risen by over 30pc from 4.7pc last year to 6.1pc – a record for the group.
"A key feature of its success is its ability to bring in new shoppers, with 70,000 more through the door this year, while also encouraging them to come back more often," said David Berry, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel.
Both Lidl and Tesco grew ahead of the market. The German retailer increased its share of the market by 4pc to 6.5pc in the latest period compared to a year ago. Tesco's share rose 2pc to 28.3pc.
But even as Dunnes Stores managed to score a hit among shoppers with an offer where they could get €5 back for every €50 they spent in store, its market share on a year-on-year basis fell 6.2pc to 22.4pc in the 12 weeks to October 28. However, the promotion helped it increase its market share compared with September.
Kantar Worldpanel said that while the initial response to the promotion appears to have been good, the real test will come in the lead-up to the all-important Christmas period when rivals respond.
Superquinn, which was bought by Cork-based Musgrave a year ago, confirmed its position as the smallest of the country's main grocery retailers. In the most recent period, its market share was 5.4pc, down 3.5pc on the corresponding period last year. It's smaller than both Lidl and Aldi.
SuperValu, the multiple brand also controlled by Musgrave, saw market share remain unchanged at 19.5pc.
Kantar said that grocery inflation stood at 4.1pc for the 12 weeks to October 28 – substantially higher than the 2.6pc rate in the previous period and the highest since the 4.4pc recorded in August 2011.
The company also said that the Irish grocery market grew for the first time since April, expanding by a modest 0.1pc.
"While growth seen this month is a good sign for the grocery market, we are not out of the woods just yet and many grocery retailers are still struggling," said Mr Berry.
"Shoppers are continuing to watch their purse strings, buying fewer groceries per trip but shopping more often. They are also spreading their spend across a broader spectrum of stores, meaning that it is a challenge for the grocers to drive sales growth."