| 11.2°C Dublin

Tesco still on top despite SuperValu challenge


Pedestrians leave the Tesco store in south London, Saturday, April 22, 2006. Tesco Plc, the U.K.'s largest

Pedestrians leave the Tesco store in south London, Saturday, April 22, 2006. Tesco Plc, the U.K.'s largest


Pedestrians leave the Tesco store in south London, Saturday, April 22, 2006. Tesco Plc, the U.K.'s largest

Tesco has retained its position as the county's top grocery retailer as it continues to fend off challenger SuperValu for domination of the multi-billion euro market.

The pair has been duelling since early this year for the retail crown.

SuperValu, the brand controlled by Cork-based retail group Musgrave, snatched the title away from Tesco in the spring, but Tesco subsequently regained and retained the top spot.

But there's still a razor-thin margin between the pair.

The latest figures from research group Kantar Worldpanel show that Tesco had a 24.8pc share of the grocery market during the 12 weeks to August 16. That compares to the 24.5pc held by SuperValu.

But the value of Tesco's sales during the period fell by 1pc in the period, at a time when grocery inflation stood at 1.3pc, according to Kantar.

The value of SuperValu's sales was down 0.8pc.

According to industry sources, SuperValu typically performs better than Tesco during the summer season.

David Berry, a director with Kantar Worldpanel, said that Tesco's performance has steadily improved in Ireland over the past year. He said that it had attracted 20,000 additional customers so far this year, something which he said had played a "vital" part on its recovery.

Dunnes Stores remains in third place, with Aldi and Lidl continuing to secure significant market share.

Dunnes had a 22.4pc share in the latest period, with the value of its sales having jumped 8.2pc as customers continued to avail of the retailers heavy discounting. It's been spending tens of millions of euros offering money-off vouchers to its customers.

"Although fewer people have shopped with the retailer this period, these customers have been encouraged to spend more, with the average shop now costing €34.50 - an increase of more than €5," according to Mr Berry.

German chains Lidl and Aldi have also continued to benefit from changed shopping habits. Lidl had a 9.1pc market share in the period, with the value of its sales having risen 7.7pc. Aldi had an 8.7pc share, with the value of its sales having climbed 3.8pc.

Lidl's performance has been boosted by an increased number of shoppers, who are returning to its stores more frequently, and who are typically spending more on each visit.

All the retailers will start gearing up for the Christmas shopping season within a matter of weeks.

Lidl and Aldi have been increasingly targeting shoppers at the festive season, intensifying competition among chains for increased consumer spending in the period.

Tesco releases interim results early next month. Investors will be keen to see how its turnaround strategy is performing following a tumultuous couple of years.

It's a year since current chief executive Dave Lewis took over the reins at the retailer, succeeding Philip Clarke, who was ousted from the job.

Last week, Mr Clarke was asked by the UK's serious fraud office to attend for interview as it probes an accounting scandal at the chain.

Just weeks after he joined, Mr Lewis revealed a £250m black hole in Tesco's accounts after it over-stated results.

Irish Independent