For the 12 weeks to 3 January 2016, including the busy Christmas period, year-on-year sales for the Irish retail grocery market grew by 3.5% according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel. This is the strongest growth in the Irish retail grocery sector since January 2009.
In what is a sign of the improving consumer confidence in the country, Irish shoppers spent an additional €77m on groceries compared with the same 12-week period in 2014. All five of the major retailers operating in Ireland reported sales growth over the period – the first time this has happened since early 2013.
Of the big three, Supervalu recorded sales growth of 4.3% for the 12-week period and retained the largest share of the more than €9bn-valued Irish grocery market, with a 25.1% slice.
Dunnes Stores recorded the strongest growth for the period, as sales improved by 5.6% year-on-year, helping the privately owned retailer increase its market share by 50bps to 24%.
UK retailer Tesco also showed sales growth over the Christmas period, albeit marginal (+0.1%). Tesco holds the second-largest market share of the Irish retail grocery market at 24.6%.
According to David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, Tesco is seeing signs of recovery in Ireland after a difficult 18 months. “Tesco saw a better performance over Christmas, with sales up marginally versus last year. This is a notable improvement on results for October and November, suggesting things are looking up for the retailer,” he said.
Both of the German discounters, Lidl and Aldi, saw improved performance over the period and control a combined share of the Irish grocery market of 15.9%.
Lidl enjoyed the strongest growth of all retailers over the 12 weeks, with sales increasing by 11.6% year-on-year to give the discounter an 8% share of the market. According to Kantar, an additional 44,000 Irish people chose to shop with Lidl in 2015 compared with 2014.
Lidl’s counterpart discount retailer, Aldi, also saw solid growth with sales up 2.9% year-on-year. However, Aldi’s market share in Ireland has begun to level out after years of eating away at the dominance of the big three retailers in Ireland. Year-on-year, Aldi’s share of the Irish grocery market is actually down marginally to 7.9%.
SuperValu remains Ireland’s largest grocery retailer