Supermarket footfalls up - but shoppers baulk at butter prices

The price of butter has gone up by 40 per cent in some cases, but the north's supermarkets fared well in the last quarter
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SAVVY shoppers in the north chose their groceries in Tesco and Lidl in the lead-up to Christmas, according to the latest market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Both those supermarkets garnered a bigger slice of the trolley food shop, taking their respective market shares to 35.2 per cent and 5.4 per cent.

But shoppers have baulked at the prices of staples like butter (up 40 per cent in some cases), bread and beef as grocery inflation is running at its highest level since March 2014.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Grocery inflation is standing at 3.1 per cent, buoying the market to increase overall sales by 1.6 per cent.

"Of all the major retailers in Northern Ireland, Tesco continues to perform strongly.

"Up 0.6 percentage points on this time last year, it captured a 35.2 per cent share of the market and experienced sales growth of 3.2 per cent.

“But Lidl outperformed Tesco to enjoy the fastest sales growth rate in the Northern Irish market."

He added: "With sales up 5.1 per cent year-on-year, Lidl has encouraged customers to buy more items per trip in the run up to Christmas, upping the price of an average basket by a pound to £13.50.”

While Tesco remains the giant of the aisles, Sainsbury's and Asda each put on shopper numbers in Northern Ireland in the 12 weeks to December 3, with the losers including the independent sector and symbol stores.

In the Republic, Dunnes Stores remains Ireland's largest grocery supermarket in the run up to the festive period.

Holding steady year-on-year with a 22.5 per cent share of the market, it has seen strong sales growth of 2.4 per cent, and shoppers now spend €2.30 more per shop than last year as customers are encouraged to up the value of their baskets to get extra money off.

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