Grocery sales increased by 1.1%, year-on-year, during the 12 weeks to November 9. Those figures resulted in an additional €23m being spent by shoppers in the main supermarket retailers.
According to new data, grocery market sales increased at their fastest pace, during the period, since June.
“Grocery market growth has accelerated, with sales up by more than twice the average rate achieved over the course of 2014,” said David Berry, commercial director at consumer insights agency, Kantar Worldpanel.
“This is in stark contrast to the British market, which has contracted for the first time on record.
“One reason for this growth is improved confidence among Irish shoppers, which is illustrated by a marginal return to growth for branded grocery products.
“Since the recession began, branded sales have been in decline, so a return to growth is a positive prospect for recovery,” he said.
Mr Berry also noted that competition in the market has intensified.
“The top three retailers are separated by less than 1.5% share, a record narrow divide at the top of the market,” he said.
Kantar’s most recent figures show Tesco still leading the way ahead of its competitors with a 24.9% market share, but that figure is marginally down on the preceding 12-week period.
Tesco was also the only supermarket chain to see a drop in over-the-counter sales, down 4.7% year-on-year for the period.
Dunnes and SuperValu grew their till sales by just under 1%, each, while the German discounters Aldi and Lidl (which now have a combined 16.3% share of the Irish grocery market) increased their till sales by 14.4% and 16.4%.
SuperValu currently controls 24.5% of the market, unchanged from this time last year.
Dunnes Stores’ market share is also unchanged at 23.5%.
However, according to Mr Berry, the widespread appeal of the German discounters has allowed them to continue their strong growth.
“Some 63.5% of all households shopped in each of the two retailers during the past quarter, with Lidl particularly benefitting from more frequent visits by customers, as shoppers returned to the store for one additional trip.
“Meanwhile, Aldi continued to attract new shoppers, bringing an additional 80,000 shoppers through its doors,” he said.
Grocery inflation stands at 2.6%. That is up marginally from 2.4% in the preceding period.
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