Supervalu is breathing down Tesco's neck in the race to be the Republic's largest retailer and despite recording a fall in sales over the last quarter there is now less than one per cent separating the two supermarket chains, according to the latest figures from retail analysts Kantar World Panel.
The new supermarket share figures covering the 12 weeks up to July 20th show that Supervalu has 24.7 per cent of the overall market - compared with the combined figure of 25.1 per cent which Supervalu and Superquinn had over the same period last year.
Tesco’s decline has been more precipitous and its market share fell from 27.5 per cent this time last year to 25.6 per cent now.
The figures from Kantar have Dunnes Stores performing strongly with a sales increase of 2.6 per cent, a jump which has seen its market share jump 0.3 points to 21.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, Lidl and Aldi are both continuing their impressive growth streaks with Lidl's share of the sector put at 8.4 per cent and Aldi's marginally behind on 8.3 per cent. Lidl saw their sales increase by 11.1 per cent while Aldi's jumped an ever more impressive 17.1 per cent.
Tesco’s performance lags behind the market, mainly as a result of decreased customer spend in store - the average shopping trip fell in value by €1.60 as fewer items were placed in baskets.
While overall grocery market growth has remained subdued at just less than 1 per cent, there are signs of a boost in Dublin - the driving region of the Irish economic recovery - where the value of grocery sales has increased by 5.4 per cent.
"Despite declining numbers of shoppers coming through its doors over the past year, Dunnes has managed to increase footfall levels within the past two months, largely by drawing in customers with branded promotions," said David Berry, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel.
Branded sales have grown in value terms by 5 per cent in Dunnes Stores thanks to well publicised ‘round euro’ promotional offers. Traditionally branded products have been a core strength for Dunnes, and it has used their appeal to draw back customers, Mr Berry said.
SuperValu has seen a strong performance among its own brand products. While the shift to cheaper own label goods has led to a slight drop in value sales, SuperValu has posted a record number of shoppers this period. Some 73.6 per cent of Irish households shopped in SuperValu over the past 12 weeks - up 94,000 customers compared to last year.