Tesco and SuperValu tussle for victory in grocery war
Tesco and SuperValu are now neck-and-neck in the battle to be Ireland's biggest grocery chain. But Dunnes Stores is in hot pursuit as the busy Christmas buying frenzy approaches.
New figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel show that Tesco has continued to claw back market share after being toppled from the top spot in 2015.
Tesco now commands a 22pc share of Ireland's multi-billion euro grocery market.
SuperValu, controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group, also now has a 22pc share.
The Kantar Worldpanel data shows that SuperValu's share slipped during the 12 weeks to October 8, compared to the 22.4pc it had in the corresponding period last year.
Tesco's share climbed from 21.6pc to 22pc in the same period.
Dunnes Stores saw its market share dip from 22pc to 21.9pc.
The data represents the share of the value of goods sold, rather than the volume.
Lidl and Aldi both posted small gains in the latest period.
Lidl's share increased from 11.6pc to 11.7pc. Aldi's edged to 11.6pc from 11.5pc.
David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said that both SuperValu and Tesco have benefited from consumers spending more each time they shop.
"Though SuperValu has seen consumers spend an additional 40 cent per basket on average, Tesco has encouraged its shoppers to add an extra €1 to every shop," he said.
"With Dunnes Stores only 0.1 percentage points behind SuperValu and Tesco, the top three Irish supermarkets are all fighting for the top spot.
"With the festive period just around the corner - the time of year when sales spike and shoppers aren't afraid to spend that little bit extra - the competition shows no signs of abating."
Mr Berry added that shoppers were also spending more on branded goods compared to a year ago.
"This time last year sales of branded items dropped by 0.5pc compared to the year before," he said. "However we're now seeing a return to form - with sales up 1.3pc.
"At Christmas, shoppers tend to flock back to brands - partly for sentimental reasons and also as people are tempted to trade up at this time of year," added Mr Berry.
Grocery prices continued to fall in the latest period, nudging 0.1pc lower, compared to a 0.4pc decline in the previous period.