'Beast from the East' fails to deter Irish shoppers who massively raised their Easter egg shopping this year

'Beast from the East' fails to deter Irish shoppers who massively raised their Easter egg shopping this year

The Irish grocery market managed to brush off the 'Beast from the East' with strong sales in the first three months of the year.

Latest data from Kantar Worldpanel show sales grew by 3.8% to the end of March, despite many people being snowed in during the bad weather.

People also bought a lot of Easter eggs and chocolate this year with sales up more than 75% compared to last year.

Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Although shoppers had upped their spend in preparation for the Beast from the East, the length of the storm meant that cupboards were emptied by the time it came to an end.

"As a result, in the week following the cold snap Irish households spent €20.33 more than usual on restocking their kitchens.

"Far from denting the Irish grocery market, the subsequent shopping rush meant that the Beast from the East made little impression on overall sales.”

Easter fell two weeks earlier compared to last year, meaning people crammed their Easter egg shopping into the month of March.

Mr Faughnan said: “Sales of Easter eggs and seasonal chocolate confectionery in March rocketed by 75.2% compared to this time last year.

Price rises of 2.4% did little to deter customers from their chocolate fix.

"By the 25 March, just over half of all households had picked up their Easter treats – ready for Easter Sunday – and Irish shoppers had spent a total of €20.6 million on the holiday chocolate.”

Competition remains tight among the retailers.

Although its market share is 0.2% behind both Dunnes Stores and SuperValu, Tesco experienced its strongest sales growth in over six years – up 7.1%.

Mr Faughnan said: “Encouraging shoppers to splash out and spend more every time they shop has proved the key to Tesco’s success. Over the past 12 weeks, customers upped their average spend by €1.36 to €26.06.

“However, despite a strong performance, Tesco was unable to edge in front of Dunnes Stores and SuperValu.

"Dunnes Stores is now neck and neck with SuperValu – the first time that SuperValu has returned to the top spot since October 2017 – with both retailers securing a joint market share of 22.1%.”

Lidl – only one of two retailers to gain market share this month – was buoyed by strong sales growth of 4.7% to increase its market share to 11.5%.

Aldi experienced growth of 2.4% but dropped market share by 0.2 percentage points to 11.3%.

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