Grocery spending tops €2.5bn in run-up to Easter

Aldi and Lidl gained market share as Dunnes retained its slot as the largest supermarket in a “bumper” market worth over €2.5 billion, the latest survey shows.

Market researcher Kantar said that overall spending had increased 3.2% in the 12 weeks through March 24 from a year earlier, as supermarkets tapped an early Easter spending spree by selling Easter eggs as part of discount deals.

However, the annual rate of growth was lower than the same period a year ago because Easter had fallen earlier in 2018.

According to the survey, Aldi and Lidl posted the largest rates of growth.

The shares of the German discounters have remained fairly stable in recent years but Aldi has now broken through the 12% share for the first time in the Kantar survey.

At 22.3%, Dunnes took the largest share of the €2.5bn spent on groceries in the period.

It was followed by SuperValu and Tesco, each with shares of 21.2%. Kantar said that SuperValu was particularly affected by the timing of Easter this year.

Grocery price inflation of almost 1.7% was the highest rate since September 2016.

For a long time after the UK’s Brexit referendum prices of groceries in Irish supermarkets have been almost flat.

The slump in the value of sterling against the euro had driven down the prices of the many grocery items that supermarkets import from Britain. Prices of the 30,000 grocery items Kantar tracks for its survey have started to rise again in recent times.

If the early evidence is anything to go on, spring 2019 could be a bumper period for the Irish grocery market.

"The late Easter hasn’t stopped retailers promoting seasonal favourites – the holiday weekend is still two weeks away but already over half of Irish households have stocked up on Easter egg,” said Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar.

“So far the grocers have been focusing their efforts on multibuy offers to encourage shoppers to splash out a little earlier than they usually would. This has proven successful to date: Over €15m has been spent on Easter eggs in 2019 and 41% of these have been bought as part of a deal,” he said.

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