Monday 20 May 2019

Revealed: Christmas supermarket wars winner as consumers plan €1bn festive splurge

In the bag: Milly Nilaj and Niamh Garrahan, both from Dublin, hit the high street on Black Friday, but most sought bargains online. Photo: Mark Condren
In the bag: Milly Nilaj and Niamh Garrahan, both from Dublin, hit the high street on Black Friday, but most sought bargains online. Photo: Mark Condren

Gavin McLoughlin and Charlie Weston

Dunnes Stores is on top in the supermarket wars, as retailers look forward to a bumper Christmas.

Households are set to spend €1bn on groceries this December for the first time, with the likes of Dunnes, SuperValu and Tesco all fighting for their slice.

Supermarkets have strong momentum going into Christmas, after a hot summer and the World Cup saw shoppers flock to the aisles for products such as bottled water, alcohol, and barbecue products.

That is according to Kantar Worldpanel, a research firm which studies the grocery market here. Kantar said the grocery market saw sales rise by 2.9pc in the 12 weeks to December 2.

Dunnes had the biggest market share of any supermarket here, on 22.4pc. That put it ahead of SuperValu on 21.7pc and Tesco on 21.6pc.

But it was the German discounters Aldi and Lidl who were growing sales faster than anyone else. They have 11.6pc and 11.3pc of the market respectively.

Douglas Faughnan, Kantar's consumer insight director, said Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday would give retailers a festive bonus.

"As December 25 fell on a Monday last year, Friday and Saturday were the two biggest trading days for the major grocers.

Bonus

"However, with the big day coming on Tuesday this time around, we expect most households to do the bulk of their Christmas grocery shopping on the Saturday and Sunday - with extra sales on the Monday representing a welcome Christmas bonus for retailers," Mr Faughnan said.

"Last December generated €968.2m for retailers, and all the signs so far indicate that this year, Irish households will break the €1bn threshold for the first time."

He said promotions were playing an important role for the supermarkets as they sought to get new customers in the door. But for Dunnes, a long-running vouchering scheme is proving a winner.

"Shoppers spend significantly more on each trip there than at any other retailer. Dunnes' average spend per trip of €42.60 is one of the main reasons the retailer has retained the number one spot."

Meanwhile, consumers opted in massive numbers to seek out Black Friday bargains online last month, instead of going to shops.

There was a 12pc surge in internet shopping, according to a survey which maps cash and card expenditure.

Spending in traditional shops on town and city streets was down by 4.3pc in November, compared with the previous year, according to research by payment card firm Visa.

It was the first fall since August 2017 and among the sharpest in the past five years, according to Visa's Irish Consumer Spending Index.

Combined spending online and in shops rose modestly.

Visa said the rise was 1pc, which represents the weakest rise in just over a year.

Irish Independent

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