Business

Grocery sales return to modest growth says Kantar

The north's grocery market returned to modest growth last month according to Kantar

THE Northern Irish grocery market returned to modest growth during the 52 weeks to February 23 as total value sales grew by 0.1 per cent, latest data from analysts Kantar shows.

Volume sales decline slowed this period, now down 0.4 per cent year on year compared with 0.6 per cent previously.

It comes as supermarkets placed restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling, amid reports of people panic-buying in shops as a result of the continued spread of coronavirus.

More frequent trips by shoppers and an average price rise of one pence per item eclipsed falling basket sizes, which dropped by 2.8 per cent.

Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, says: “Overall, Lidl was the best performing retailer – increasing its value sales by 4.4 per cent. The discounter gained 0.2 percentage points this period, taking its market share to 6.1 per cent.

“Though shopper numbers fell by 1.6 per cent, this was outweighed by people visiting the retailer more often. Growth was also driven by a rise in pack prices, up 3.4 per cent, suggesting that shoppers were trading up in store and choosing more premium options.

“Northern Ireland's largest retailer Tesco enjoyed the greatest increase in market share, up by 0.6 percentage points to 35.7 per cent with sales growth of 1.7 per cent.

“Its customers stepped up the frequency of trips made to the supermarket in this period, which offset a drop in basket sizes by an average of one item per trip.”

She added: “Sales at Asda and Sainsbury's decreased this month by 3.2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

“At Sainsbury's, an increase in shopper frequency – up by 2.9 per cent – was not enough to counteract falling pack prices, shopper numbers and basket sizes.

“While basket sizes have continued to grow at Asda – bucking the market trend to rise by 2.6 per cent – the retailer has seen fewer shoppers coming through its doors and less often.”

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