Households in Northern Ireland spent more on food shopping last year says report

Northern Ireland households spent more on grocery shopping in 2018 according to data from Kantar Worldpanel
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NORTHERN Ireland households did bigger food shops last year, new figures show.

The grocery market successfully weathered a year of political uncertainty, posting sales growth of 1.2 per cent in 2018, latest data from Kantar Worldpanel reveals.

And Tesco solidified its position as the largest retailer in the market, accounting for more than a third of overall sales in the north.

Although the proportion of households shopping at Tesco actually declined marginally over the past year, some 93.9 per cent of Northern Irish households still visited at least once.

And those who visited did so more frequently and paid a higher average price for their shop, the data shows.

Despite Sainsbury's share falling by one percentage point on 2017, growth of 0.8 per cent meant it remained the second largest retailer in Northern Ireland with an overall share of 17.3 per cent.

It was also the only grocer to see an increase in shopper numbers over the course of the year – an extra 5,000 households visited a store over the past 12 months, generating an additional £32.6 million in sales.

Asda's market share remained unchanged against the previous year, despite recording the strongest growth of the top three retailers with sales up 1.4 per cent. Higher average prices have been key to Asda's performance, with £13.2 million generated through shoppers paying more for items at the retailer.

Meanwhile, Lidl was the fastest growing grocer in the north, with sales up 9.0 per cent for the year.

“The German retailer's ever-expanding range of products meant the average number of items bought per trip increased by two, helping lift the value of an average shop by £2.39 to £15.60," said Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“Although this is still lower than its main competition, the increasing figure has been crucial to Lidl's overall performance.”

The grocery market in the Republic grew by three per cent over the 12 weeks to December 30, ensuring a record festive period for retailers.

The Kantar Worldpanel data shows value sales reached €995 million in the month of December – the highest monthly total ever recorded in the Irish grocery market. This was driven by Irish shoppers spending an average of €694 on groceries in December - a whopping €151 more than the typical month.

For the second Christmas in a row and the fourth consecutive period overall Dunnes was Ireland's leading retailer, accounting for 23 per cent of the grocery market – its highest Christmas share since 2013.

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