Dunnes avails of Ophelia sales boost

Dunnes Stores has overtaken SuperValu and Tesco Ireland to become Ireland’s best-performing supermarket chain, boosted by a spike in consumer grocery spending around the time of Storm Ophelia in mid-October, writes Geoff Percival.

Latest data from consumer insights agency Kantar Worldpanel covering the 12 weeks to November 5 show Dunnes with a 22.4% share of the market.

That was boosted by a 1.4% year-on-year jump in over-the-counter sales. Kantar’s last set of data covered the 12 weeks to early October. That showed Tesco and SuperValu leading the way, both with 22% market share; and Dunnes 0.1 of a percentage point behind them.

Despite its return to the top spot for the first time in nine months, Dunnes Stores market share is slightly down on where it was this time last year.

Arguably it was Tesco which benefitted most during the latest period under review. The British-owned supermarket saw a 5.1% annualised rise in till sales, comfortably ahead of its competitors and also the 2.2% combined rise for the sector. Tesco is, also, the only one of the major players not to have lost any shoppers this year.

However, Tesco is currently third, in market share terms, with 21.9%. SuperValu has a 22% share of the market, meanwhile. Lidl saw a 3.8% jump in sales, while Aldi increase sales 2.9%. The German discounters now have market shares of 11.6% and 11.5%.

“Dunnes Stores traditionally posts a strong performance towards the end of the year and 2017 is no exception,” said Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry.

“While growth of 1.4% compared to this time last year is slightly behind the market average, shoppers have spent almost €2 more per trip this period, which has been enough for the retailer to edge ahead of the competition,” he said.

Regarding Tesco, Berry said customers have been tempted in by lower prices.

“On average, consumers have paid 2% less than this time last year and, in turn, this has contributed to shoppers making bigger trips and returning to store more often.”

Last month’s heavy weather — dominated by Storm Ophelia — had a positive effect on all grocers as consumers rushed to stock up on essentials.

“Storm Ophelia, which hit on October 16, had a surprisingly strong effect on the Irish grocery market. The week before Ophelia landed, supermarkets were buoyed by a spike in sales as shoppers battened down the hatches in preparation for the course of the storm. Munster, in particular, saw an uplift in sales, with growth reaching 12% during that week,” said Berry.

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