Pace of grocery sales growth in Ireland slowed as December approached but bumper Christmas spend still expected
The pace of grocery sales growth in Ireland slowed as December approached, but a bumper spend by shoppers is still expected as Christmas nears.
Research group Kantar said grocery sales grew by 2.3pc in the 12 weeks to December 1, which was slower than the 2.6pc rate that was recorded in the previous period. Ireland’s grocery market is worth more than €12bn a year.
And as festive shopping hits a frenzy this week, Kantar said that SuperValu, controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group, edged ahead of Tesco in the latest figures to become the country’s second biggest grocery retailer. It had a 21.6pc share of the grocery market at December 1, compared to Tesco’s 21.3pc.
Dunnes Stores retained the top spot, with a 22.8pc share as it continues to bet that consumers will be drawn to the retailer as it expands its high-end offering.
Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, said that SuperValu and Tesco both traditionally increase their share of the grocery market as Christmas approaches.
“SuperValu’s highest share since January is largely thanks to shopper penetration, which increased this period having fallen last month,” she added. “This coincides with the retailer announcing its new loyalty scheme with Visa in November, designed to appeal to existing shoppers while also attracting new customers.”
She said that Dunnes Stores' customer penetration is also improving.
“Ireland’s biggest grocer is also gaining traction outside of its usual Dublin heartland, growing strongly in Connaught and Ulster where it has historically held a smaller share,” she said.
Ms Scott added that seasonal tubs of chocolates were on retailers’ shelves earlier this year than in other years.
“Confectionery sales are showing no signs of slowing down having already added €8.8m of spend to the market this year compared to last,” said Ms Scott.
Biscuit sales have also jumped in the run-up to Christmas, rising 16pc in the latest 12-week period.
Kantar said that Lidl saw its market share standing at 11.6pc in the latest period, while Aldi’s was 12.2pc.
The chief executive of Aldi’s UK and Ireland business, Giles Hurley, said the chain was having its “best ever Christmas”.