Spike in popcorn and cling film sales help lead retail revival

Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE grocery market grew by 8 per cent in Northern Ireland in the year to September 6 - and accelerated even further over the last 12 weeks, with sales up 10.4 per cent as people continued to spend more time at home.

And it was unexpected items like sales of popcorn and cling film which led the revival, according to data from Kantar.

Sales at Asda were up by 3.1 per cent and at Sainsbury’s by 7.6 per cent. Sainsbury’s was the only retailer to see an increase in shopper frequency over the latest 52 weeks, which grew by 4.8 per cent, though Asda customers made the biggest additions to their weekly food shop and volume sales were up by 19.2 per cent.

Tesco, which holds the biggest share of the market, increased its sales by 9.2 per cent year on year, adding 0.4 percentage points to its market share.

It was also the only retailer to recruit new shoppers in the past year, which contributed an additional £12.7 million to its overall growth. People buying more in store, up 12.2 per cent, and average prices growing by 2.8 per cent both contributed to its success.

Lidl took the prize for the strongest performing retailer once again and its growth accelerated from last period. It grew its sales by 11.1 per cent over the year and gained 0.2 percentage points in share. Like Tesco, this was driven by significantly larger trips, with volumes up 15.4 per cent, and higher average prices, up 0.6 per cent.

Kantar retail analyst Emer Healy said: “As we edge back to normality and schools reopen, typical school lunch box categories have been in strong growth in the latest 12 weeks.

“Popcorn, a popular children’s snack, grew by 58 per cent, while cheese and butter where up by 8.4 per cent and 11.9 per cent. Household food wraps like cling film and tinfoil also grew by 19.8 per cent.”

Meanwhile separate data from Springboard reveals that footfall across all retail destinations in Northern Ireland rose by 12.2 per cent last week from the week before, with latest restrictions on people's movements appearing not to dent the confidence of consumers to make trips to bricks and mortar destinations.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access