Spending growth at Irish supermarkets surprisingly slowed in recent weeks but the slowdown may be shortlived, according to the latest survey of the stores.
Market researcher Kantar said that the grocers took in €2.6bn in the 12 weeks to December 1. But at 2.3%, the rate of growth was down from the growth of 2.6% posted in its November survey.
“This is slightly slower than the 2.6% registered last month, but with just a short time to go before Christmas Day shoppers are expected to start stocking up, making more and bigger trips in the coming weeks,” Kantar said.
The survey also showed that annual grocery price inflation across a basket of 30,000 items it monitors each month was at 1.2% in the latest period.
Grocery price inflation will be closely watched in the coming months for signs that prices could start rising following the surge in the value of sterling against the euro following the election victory of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.
Many grocery items are exported from across the Irish Sea and inflation had eased considerably when sterling fell sharply after the UK voted to leave the EU in the summer of 2016.
In the latest survey, Dunnes was the largest supermarket with a share of 22.8% of the €2.6bn spend, ahead of SuperValu and Tesco, which posted shares of 21.6% and 21.3%, respectively.
Both Aldi and Lidl continued with their sales growth spurts to secure shares of 12.2% and 11.6% of the market. Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, said that SuperValu had pulled ahead of Tesco by selling a lot of seasonal confectionery.
“SuperValu’s highest share since January is largely thanks to shopper penetration, which increased this period having fallen last month. This coincides with the retailer announcing its new loyalty scheme with Visa in November, designed to appeal to existing shoppers while also attracting new customers,” Kantar said.
Dunnes remains the biggest grocer. “Ireland’s biggest grocer is also gaining traction outside of its usual Dublin heartland, growing strongly in Connaught and Ulster where it has historically held a smaller share,” Ms Scott said.