Spend on groceries lowest since February

Take-home grocery sales in Ireland slowed to 18 per cent year on year during the three months to August 9, Kantar reports. While still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels, grocery spend of €930 million over the last four weeks was the lowest since February as the country eases out of lockdown and people move about more eat out in restaurants and bars.

The relaxing of rules across much of Ireland means shoppers are less inclined to favour large, infrequent shops. People spent approximately €5 less per trip over the past four weeks compared with April, picking up fewer items in store as they start to return to pre-Covid-19 habits. However, online sales continued to accelerate, growing by as much as 125 per cent.

The online growth drove the channel to a record market share of 4.6 per cent of total sales this period, contributing an extra €75.1m to the grocery market. Aldi and Lidl both saw branded sales soar and the German discounters’ reputation for value means they also stand to gain should shoppers tighten their belts. Aldi saw growth of 18.4 per cent this month.

Incentive

Lidl, which launched its rewards scheme Lidl Plus and achieved the strongest growth rate of all the major retailers this period, helping it to its highest ever market share of 12.8 per cent. Despite a wet and rainy summer, the Irish government made a strong case for holidaying within Ireland’s borders with its  Stay & Spend tax incentive launched last month.

Kantar’s Emer Healy said the bad weather did not dampen spirits and sales of firelighters and logs were boosted by people’s new summer plans, growing by 77 per cent over recent weeks as people enjoyed barbecues and camp fires. Hotel breakfasts were swapped for homemade alternatives and eggs, bacon and sausages all grew ahead of the market.

After months of exceptionally strong growth, take-home alcohol sales have begun to taper. Alcohol sales were up by 56 per cent over the past 12 weeks, but this represents a significant slowdown from the 76 per cent growth rate seen last month, as people get used to new rules and are now more inclined to socialise out of home in restaurants, hotels and pubs.

In terms of market share over the latest 12 weeks, buoyed by their online offers, SuperValu enjoys the highest market share at 22.3 per cent and Tesco is second at 21.1 per cent. SuperValu is the one retailer to attract new shoppers this period, adding an extra €624,000. Bigger baskets, with volumes up by a quarter, and higher average prices helped Tesco.

Dunnes again recorded the highest average spend per trip while also experiencing an increase in volumes and higher average prices to hold a 20.5 per cent market share.


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