GROCERY sales in Northern Ireland dropped by 1 per cent in the year to November 27, despite shoppers returning to stores more often (visits were up 2.1 per cent), according to new monthly data from analysts Kantar.
But shoppers here are already getting into the festive spirit and have spent £1.8m more on chocolate, £1.7m more on crisps and £215,000 more on mince pies compared to last year.
As food and drink prices continue to climb, with average prices up 5.8 per cent compared to last year, the impact on shopper budgets is unavoidable for many Northern Irish consumers, says Emer Healy, senior retail analyst at Kantar.
“Inflation now stands at 9.5 per cent for November, which means the average annual grocery bill is set to rise by £473 from £4,797 to £5,270 if consumers do not make changes to what they are buying and how they shop to start cutting costs,” she said.
“As shoppers look for ways to manage costs, many are turning to cheaper alternatives such as retailer own label lines, where sales of value own label products are up £2.3 million compared to last year.
“This all comes at an expensive time of year, as the cost of a traditional Christmas dinner for four has hit £23.38, up 4.9 per cent compared to last year.”
Over the latest 12 weeks, grocery sales are up 2.8 per cent thanks to shoppers visiting stores 2.9 per cent more often and noticeable price increases of 7.9 per cent.
Tesco has maintained its position at the top of the table and is Northern Ireland’s largest grocer with a 35.7 per cent share of the market. It welcomed an influx of new shoppers in store which contributed an additional £42.9m to their overall performance.
Lidl holds 7.1 per cent market share, with sales up 1.3 per cent year-on-year. It continues to see the strongest boost of new shoppers, up 4.8 percentage points, which contributed an additional £16.1m to their overall performance.
Sainsbury’s holds 17 per cent share and saw a boost of new shoppers which contributed an additional £21.2m to their overall performance. Asda commands 16.4 per cent of the market this period and also welcomed new shoppers in store alongside existing shoppers purchasing more often which contributed an additional £8.6m overall.