Irish shoppers spend extra €143m on groceries in lockdown

Kantar figures highlight surge in supermarket sales with restaurants closed

 A shopper in  Tesco in Rush, Co Dublin:  the retailer  saw the biggest increase in trip size among all the grocers this period. Photograph: Alan Betson

A shopper in Tesco in Rush, Co Dublin: the retailer saw the biggest increase in trip size among all the grocers this period. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

With bars and restaurants closed, Irish shoppers spent an additional €143 million on take-home groceries over the past 12 weeks, latest figures from retail group Kantar show.

“January wasn’t quite the fresh start we hoped for and ongoing lockdowns meant we continued to rely on supermarkets to keep us fed,” Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, said.

The group’s latest figures show that take-home grocery sales in the Republic grew by 16.4 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 24th. In financial terms, that was €142.8 million up on the same period last year.

Households with children spent an extra €172 on groceries in the most recent four weeks due to school closures, Kantar said.

“Parents and children once again found themselves working side by side at kitchen tables, and that means more mouths to feed throughout the day,” Ms Healy said.

Sales of groceries online reached a record market share this month, accounting for 5.2 per cent of grocery sales in January – almost doubling from 2.7 per cent a year ago.

Market shares

In terms of the performance of the Republic’s biggest grocers, Lidl saw the strongest growth, with a sales rise of 25.6 per cent year on year. The German discounter now holds an 11.9 per cent market share.

SuperValu (22.1 per cent market share) saw sales rise by 18.5 per cent, while Tesco (21.9 per cent market share) saw sales increase by 16.5 per cent, with both retailers bolstered by their online presence.

According to Kantar, Tesco saw the biggest increase in trip size among all the grocers this period, with shoppers adding on average 3½ more items to their basket of goods.

Market leader Dunnes Stores (22.6 per cent) saw the lowest growth of all the major chains, with sales up 11.3 per cent. However, shoppers to its stores spent more than at any other retailer.

The January period also saw some uncertainty following the completion of Brexit negotiations at the end of last year, Ms Healy said, noting that some categories were affected.

“All eyes have been on our supermarket shelves following the Brexit deal. We have seen some impact from the temporary disruption in the fresh fruit aisles, and sales of tropical fruit, strawberries and soft fruit all fell this month as shoppers struggled to get their hands on imported produce,” she said.

“But there has also been a boost for homegrown Irish staples and sales of vegetables have increased by 18.5 per cent in the latest four weeks. Stable grocery inflation of 1.6 per cent in January also suggests that shoppers aren’t feeling an additional pinch on their wallets just yet.”