Shoppers to spend more on luxury...in Lidl and Aldi
Lobster bisque, wild crab claws, and salmon caviar. It's a shopping list of the type we last saw in Christmas 2005, when Irish shoppers splashed out an estimated €4bn - and that's how much industry group Retail Ireland reckons will be spent this Christmas too.
But the fancy festive fare on offer this year isn't from Marks and Spencer, that favourite of well-heeled shoppers, but from Lidl.
With consumers feeling better about themselves for the first time in years, grocery retailers are betting that they'll be willing to splash out a bit more this Christmas.
The past few years witnessed a seismic shift in the market. As consumers stretched their dwindling pay-cheques, the German chains Aldi and Lidl were among the big beneficiaries.
The latest figures from research group Kantar show that Lidl had an 8.7pc share of Ireland's multi-billion euro grocery market during the 12 weeks to November 8. Aldi had 8.5pc.
And the three biggest grocery retailers are all neck-and-neck as they head into the busiest time of year for trading.
SuperValu has a 24.6pc share, followed by Tesco on 24.1pc and Dunnes on 23.7pc.
Retail insiders insist that an end to austerity won't mean shoppers who turned to chains such as Aldi and Lidl will now defect to the bigger rivals. In offering what would be considered high-end gourmet products for Christmas at knock-down prices, Lidl, for instance, is hoping that it can retain shoppers who might have considered going elsewhere.
Supermarket chains are predicting that this Christmas, for the first time in years, shoppers will be willing to buy more luxury products. Dunnes Stores, for instance, is selling prawns caught "just off the San Jorge Gulf" off Argentina for €7 for just 200g, while 160g of its organic salmon from Co Clare will set you back €10.