Asda now Northern Ireland's second largest grocery chain

Asda is now Northern Ireland's second favourite supermarket

ASDA has overtaken Sainsbury's as Northern Ireland's second favourite supermarket.

It was the only one of the big three British grocers to record a rise in sales in the north over the past year according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

It found spending at Asda rose 2.1 per cent over the year to September 11, giving it a 17.5 per cent share of the market.

That put it 0.1 percentage point ahead of Sainsbury's (which sustained a 0.5 per cent hit to sales) while Tesco (down 0.2 per cent) remains the north's leading supermarket with 34.6 per cent market share.

The performance is in contrast to the fortunes of Asda as a whole.

Last month the retailer - owned by US giant Walmart - posted a 7.5 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the second quarter.

It was the eighth consecutive quarter of sliding sales and a worsening of the 5.7 per cent drop seen in the previous period.

In January, Asda said it would axe hundreds of UK jobs, largely affecting its Leeds head office, which employs 3,000 people.

The chain's performance in Northern Ireland came despite a modest 0.5 per cent in overall spending on groceries over the 12-month period.

South of the border meanwhile, spending is rising much faster, 3.7 per cent up in the past three months compared to the same period in 2015.

Dunnes Dunnes Stores increased sales by 6.3 per cent to draw level with Tesco as the second most popular supermarket with each accounting for 21.6 per cent of grocery sales.

SuperValu remains The Republic's largest grocer with a 22.4 per cent share of the market, increasing sales by 3.1 per cent year-on-year.

Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry said: "“Larger trips have boosted sales for Dunnes, with the average spend increasing by €2.50 to €37.20 in the latest quarter, compared with the same time last year.

"Dunnes has successfully tempted shoppers to add more expensive items to their baskets, with the average price per item rising to €2.055 - an increase of 12 per cent on last year.”

It is the third consecutive month where growth for the retailer has been above 3 per cent, helped by shoppers adding more items to their baskets on average every time they shop.

While Tesco has seen value sales fall by 2.3 per cent it continues to sell more items, with volume sales 1.9 per cent higher than the same time last year, Kantar Worldpanel said.

The performance gap between value and volume sales is a reflection of a lower average price point at Tesco, in part the result of its Staying Down Prices campaign.

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