Irish supermarket sales set to top €1 billion in December

Less than one percentage point separates three largest chains, figures show

Dunnes Stores was Ireland’s leading grocery retailer in the 12 weeks to December 2nd with a share of 22.4 per cent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dunnes Stores was Ireland’s leading grocery retailer in the 12 weeks to December 2nd with a share of 22.4 per cent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Monthly sales in Irish supermarkets could top €1 billion for the first time as shoppers gear up for a bumper Christmas spending spree.

New figures from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel show competition remains fierce across the sector with less than one percentage point separating the three largest supermarkets in the State as they head into the crucial Christmas shopping season.

Dunnes Stores claimed pole position as Ireland’s leading retailer for the third consecutive period with a market share of 22.4 per cent in the 12 weeks to December 2nd. It recorded sales growth of 3.4 per cent when compared with the same period last year.

Dunnes held on to its top spot despite stiff competition from SuperValu, which saw sales growth of 1.3 per cent, a market shift which helped it to secure its position as Ireland’s second-largest retailer with an overall share of 21.7 per cent.

Tesco’s slightly more modest growth of 0.3 per cent saw it remain in third place, with the retailer now accounting for 21.6 per cent of the market.

Consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel Douglas Faughnan said promotions were continuing to play an important role among the traditional retailers “as they try to attract new shoppers and encourage customers to spend more in store”.

Both the SuperValu and Dunnes Stores promotional offers were said to be performing particularly well.

Discount chains

The German discount chains Aldi and Lidl were the strongest performers for the second consecutive period with market shares of 11.6 and 11.3 per cent respectively.

While the two traditionally rely on sales of private-label products, both have made a clear effort to attract more shoppers by diversifying and increasing their branded ranges.

Brands now account for 12.1 per cent of overall sales at Lidl and 9.2 per cent of sales at Aldi, up from 11 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively in 2017.

Overall, the grocery market grew by 2.9 per cent to the start of December, which is the strongest performance since the 3.1 per cent growth rate recorded in July during one of the hottest summers on record.

With December typically being the most lucrative month of the year for the grocery market, 2018 looks as if it could set a new benchmark. Last December generated €968.2 million for retailers, and all the signs so far indicate that this year Irish households will break the €1 billion threshold for the first time.