Tesco back on top in Ireland's store wars
Tesco is the biggest supermarket in Ireland by market share for the first time since 2015.
The British retailer has 22.3pc of the market spend, according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel Ireland, with SuperValu second on 22pc and Dunnes third on 21.8pc.
The figures cover the 12 weeks up to May 20.
Kantar consumer insight director Douglas Faughnan said a strategic emphasis on growing sales volumes had helped Tesco.
"While value sales are robust, growing at 4.5pc on last year, volume performance has been even stronger, said Mr Faughnan.
"Tesco's own label range has been at the centre of its performance, now accounting for more than half of overall sales following double-digit growth this period."
Tesco knocked SuperValu off top spot in what is an intensely competitive market. Kantar said overall prices fell 0.6pc in the 12-week period.
Tesco's victory was fuelled by its outperformance of a growing market - the 4.5pc year-on-year increase in the value of its sales outpaced a market rate of 2.8pc.
Kantar said SuperValu's sales had increased by just under 1pc in value terms compared to last year. It said the Musgrave-owned brand had been focusing on fresh produce.
"Volume sales of vegetables are up on last year with staple vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and carrots showing particularly strong performance," Mr Faughnan said.
Dunnes Stores saw the first increase in the number of shoppers coming through its doors for a year. This helped fuel a 2.6pc growth in sales compared to last year, alongside a 3.4pc increase in average price paid.
German discounters Aldi and Lidl were boosted by increased sales of branded items.
Aldi saw sales value grow 2pc year-on-year while Lidl saw sales value grow 3.5pc.
However, the German companies' combined market share came in at 22.7pc, an increase of just 0.1 percentage points on the comparative period for last year.
"Private label items at Aldi and Lidl still account for over 90pc of sales, but both retailers have expanded their branded ranges to attract shoppers and encourage more spend from existing customers," added Mr Faughnan.
"Branded sales at Aldi now account for 7.6pc of overall sales, up from 6.5pc in 2017, while 11.1pc of Lidl's sales are from branded items, compared to 8.6pc at the same time last year."
Kantar said the introduction of the sugar tax on May 1 did not appear to have hit fizzy drinks sales. "Overall volume sales in May were up 4.8pc on the same period last year, however this did coincide with a period of hot weather", it said.