Business

Tesco grows share of north's grocery market after rivals announce merger deal

Tesco has increased its share of the Northern Ireland grocery market to 35.2 per cent
Gareth McKeown

SUPERMARKET Tesco has increased its share of the Northern Ireland grocery market ahead of a proposed merger of its two closest rivals.

According to the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel Tesco remains the giant of the aisles. The supermarket chain recorded a 35.2 per cent share of the market, adding 2.6 per cent to its sales in the year to April.

Sainsbury's and Asda, the subject of a £12 billion merger, command 17.3 per cent and 17.1 per cent of the market respectively, but combined still trail behind their established rival, albeit only slightly. Sainsbury's saw sales growth over the year of 2 per cent, while Asda enjoyed a marginal increase over 12 months of just 0.2 per cent.

Just last week- the UK's number two and three supermarkets announced plans of a merger and said the unified group would have combined revenues of £51 billion and boast a network of 2,800 Sainsbury's, Asda and Argos stores.

However, the deal has to be approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel believes the north's grocery market is set for its "biggest shake up in a generation" if the tie-up goes ahead.

"The new grocer would have a combined 34.4 per cent share of the market, just 0.8 per cent behind long-time leader Tesco at 35.2 per cent," he said.

“By joining forces, Sainsbury's and Asda would create a wider shopper base than either has individually. Over the past 12 months 48 per cent of Sainsbury's sales went to empty nesters and the retired, in contrast to only a third at Asda. Meanwhile, families preferred the Walmart-owned retailer, accounting for 49 per cent of sales, versus 30 per cent at Sainsbury's. Sainsbury's appeals to more affluent and city-based customers, with more than half of its sales coming from Greater Belfast this year compared to Asda's third."

Elsewhere in the north's grocery market, Lidl recorded its biggest share to date of 5.6 per cent, enjoying growth of 5.7 per cent over the year to April, the largest of any grocery retailer in Northern Ireland.

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