Higher prices - but grocery market grows by 1.5 per cent in Northern Ireland

The grocery market in Northern Ireland grew by 1.5 per cent in the year to the end of January
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NORTHERN Ireland's grocery market grew by 1.5 per cent in the year to the end of January, almost entirely driven by higher prices, as overall volume sales remain flat.

And the new figures from data experts Kantar Worldpanel also reveal that while the big retail players are holding their own on market share, the disruptor brands like Lidl continue to gnaw at their heels.

Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said that while families were willing to splurge in the run up to Christmas, January has seen them cut back, with average household spent groceries falling back during the four weeks to January 27 as shoppers were less likely to reach for more expensive branded and premium products.

“In the Northern Irish market, Tesco and Sainsbury’s both increased sales by 1.2 per cent, though the former’s share of the total grocery market remains substantially higher at 35.1 per cent than Sainsbury’s at 17.3 per cent," he said.

“While Tesco’s branded and own label ranges are in growth, it is the retailer’s standard private level range that has performed strongest – up 4.3 per cent on last year.

"Similarly, sales of Sainsbury’s standard own label range rose by 4 per cent compared with the year before.

“Asda’s 0.4 per cent growth meant it captured 17 per cent of the total market. However, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda each saw their market share shrink by 0.1 percentage points as Lidl continues to make strong inroads.

“Lidl, with sales increases of 9.5 per cent over the course of the year, has improved its position to capture 5.9 per cent of the market.

"It now has a strong foothold in Northern Ireland, and three quarters of all households have shopped at Lidl throughout year.”

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