Sales at Asda and Sainsbury's stores in Northern Ireland fell last month, says supermarket monitor

Kantar said the average supermarket item is now one pence more expensive than this time last year
Ryan McAleer

SALES at Asda and Sainsbury stores in the north slipped in the past month, the latest research from Kantar has suggested.

The supermarket monitor said sales were down 1.7 per cent at Asda, while Sainsbury slipped by 1.5 per cent.

It comes just over six months since a proposed merger between the two grocery giants was blocked by the UK's competition watchdog over fears it would drive up prices for consumers.

Kantar said the average supermarket item is now one pence more expensive than this time last year, contributing to a growth in the market.

But its latest analysis of the industry in Northern Ireland found that while the frequency of supermarket trips is up 4.3 per cent compared with 12 months ago, the overall volume of sales is down 0.4 per cent year on year.

Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: “Growth in the Northern Irish grocery market remained steady at 0.7 percent during the 52 weeks to November 3 2019.”

“Prices also grew by an average of one pence per item which made a positive contribution to the market, however, this was largely offset by customers only buying 11.9 products when they shopped, down from 12.5 last year.

Tesco was the only one of the three largest retailers to achieve growth in the past 52 weeks – increasing its market share to 35.3 per cent, with sales up by 0.9 per cent.

Kantar found that while Sainsbury's increased its penetration by 1.8%, meaning 51% of the population visited the retailer at least once in the past 52 weeks, smaller and less frequent trips hindered growth.

The story was reversed for Asda, where customers shopped just as frequently, but penetration dropped by 1.2 per cent.

“Lidl's market share grew by 0.3 percentage points to 6.1 percent as it increased sales by 5.8 per cent,” said the insights director.

“Growth was partially driven by a rise in pack prices – which were up 4.5 per cent – although the retailer also enjoyed an increased number of shoppers and bigger baskets.”

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