SuperValu retains top grocer position as consumers continue to splash out
SuperValu has managed to retain the coveted title of being the country's biggest grocery retailer, beating Tesco and a resurgent Dunnes Stores to the top spot.
SuperValu, the brand that's controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group, has now held pole position since November last year, having first nabbed the title earlier in 2015.
Figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel show that SuperValu had a 25pc share of the multi-billion euro grocery market here during the 12 weeks to January 31, which included the all-important Christmas retail period.
Tesco had a 24.5pc share, while Dunnes Stores had a 24.1pc share.
Dunnes, headed by Margaret Heffernan and Frank Dunne, was the best performer among the big three, however. It recorded a 5.1pc increase in the value of its sales in the period. The corresponding figure for SuperValu was 4.4pc, and it was just 1.1pc at Tesco.
German chain Lidl also did well in the period, with an 8pc share of the market. Aldi had 7.4pc. Lidl notched up an 11.7pc increase in the value of its sales, while Aldi recorded a 2.9pc increase.
"The increased consumer confidence we saw over Christmas has continued, with little indication that shoppers are tightening their belts after the festive period," according to Georgieann Harrington, insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.
"Combined with a 0.4 percentage point increase in price inflation over the past 12 weeks, this means that consumers have been spending more on their grocery shopping than this time last year," she added.
Grocery inflation stood at 2.4pc in the 12 weeks to January 21, compared to 2pc in the corresponding period last year.
Across all grocery multiples, the value of sales rose 4.1pc in the latest period.
And despite Tesco registering a 1.1pc rise in the value of its sales, it was the only one of the big three grocery retailers not to register an increase above the rate of grocery inflation.
Shoppers visited SuperValu stores an average of 21 times during the latest period, and spent an additional €27 with the chain as a result. The surge in sales at Dunnes was due in part to larger shopping trips, according to Kantar Worldpanel. "Dunnes has successfully encouraged shoppers to spend an additional €1.70 on average every time they visit the store," the research group added.
Dunnes has been increasingly trying to tap into higher spending consumers, with new ranges of food and clothing designed to appeal to higher spending shoppers.
Despite the modest growth in the value of sales at Tesco, the figure was the most positive performance the retailer has experienced here since November 2012, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
The research group said that Lidl has driven its growth across the board, luring a higher number of visitors to its stores more often, and who are spending a bigger amount each time.
The main growth driver for Aldi has been a rise in customer numbers.
Consumers have been feeling their most confident in 15 years, according to figures out last week.
The KBC Bank/ESRI consumer sentiment index hit a high point in January that has not been seen since 2001.
The sentiment index rose to 108.6 last month from 103.9 in December.
That boost to sentiment was mainly due to an better domestic situation as household finances continue to improve.