Irish consumers spend €94m less on supermarket booze as pubs reopen

Shoppers avail of chance to eat and drink away from home as economy reopens

Outdoor dining on Fade Street in Dublin after some lockdown restrictions were lifted. This impacted on the sale of alcohol in supermarkets as people ventured out for a drink. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Irish consumers spent €94.4 million less on alcohol in supermarkets in recent weeks as outdoor hospitality and beer gardens reopened in June after months of lockdown.

The latest figures from retail group Kantar show that supermarket sales overall declined by 5.7 per cent year on year, and were down 7 per cent in the most recent four weeks as warmer weather and outdoor hospitality returned.

However, the declines reflected the extraordinary spending during the first national lockdown last year.

"Grocery sales may be lower than last year, but we are still a far cry from normal life," said Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar. " Spending in the latest 12 weeks was an incredible 17.6 per cent higher than before the pandemic, and the average Irish household spent €218 more on groceries than 2019."


The figures also show spending on alcohol in supermarkets was €94.4 million less in the wake of the reopening of outdoor hospitality as shoppers made the most of the chance to eat and drink away from home once again.

However, Ms Healy noted that alcohol sales from supermarkets were still way above pre-pandemic levels.

“It’s clear that we’re edging back to eating and drinking out, but sales of take-home alcohol are still a whopping 36.4 per cent higher than before the pandemic, and now that people can visit friends at home some of their spending will have been redirected to on-the-go purchases, which are not captured in this data.”

Sun-care products

The figures also showed that sales of sun-care products soared 58 per cent compared with the previous month, and shoppers splashed out €948,000 more on ice cream and €566,000 more on burgers and grilling food than in May.

SuperValu remained the largest grocery chain during the past 12 weeks with a 22.3 per cent share of the grocery market, with the business benefitting from shoppers visiting stores more often than this time last year, adding an extra €75.4 million to its takings.

“SuperValu’s phenomenal growth during the past year will mean some tough comparisons in the next few months,” Ms Healy said. “However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the longer-term context – the supermarket has grown by 24.2 per cent since 2019, well ahead of the overall market at 17.6 per cent.”

Tesco maintained its second position in the table with a market share of 21.4 per cent, followed by Dunnes on 21.2 per cent.

German discounters Lidl and Aldi had 12.2 per cent and 11.9 per cent market shares respectively.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times