Grocery price inflation has eased but is still running above the official rate of inflation across the economy, a major survey suggests.
The monthly snapshot by market research firm Kantar showed that prices across 30,000 grocery items bought by households in the Republic rose by an annual rate of over 1.4%. That was down from the 2% rate posted in early autumn and was much lower than the rate of over 3% of early summer when prices were climbing at their fastest since 2014.
Kantar said, however, that prices per pack were down 0.4% for the first time since June last year.
Grocery prices in the Republic can be affected by the exchange rate of sterling against the euro because many grocery items are directly imported across the Irish Sea from Britain. That suggests that grocery prices should have fallen significantly at some time since the Brexit referendum in the summer of 2016.
In its quarterly report published earlier this month, the Central Bank identified “structural issues” in the grocery market in the Republic for consumers having “typically experienced relatively high grocery prices over time”.
The latest Kantar survey showed that “buoyant” spending across all supermarkets and grocers rose to €2.52bn in the 12 week period to October 6, up 3.3% from the same period last year. Dunnes secured the largest bite of the €2.52bn households spent in the period, with a share of 22.5%.
SuperValu and Tesco were almost level-pegging, with shares of 21.2% and 21.1% in the same period, and the German discounters — Aldi and Lidl — secured shares of 12.6% and 11.9%, respectively.
The five largest supermarkets in the Republic between them account for 89.4% of all grocery takings, according to the Kantar figures. Kantar figures suggest another group of stores, which includes Boots, Spar, Centra, greengrocers, butchers, as well as cross-border shops, lost market share to the big five grocers in the past year.
“As the Brexit deadline looms, shoppers are showing no signs of concern, visiting stores more often and making larger trips this period than they did last year,” Kantar said.