THE Northern Irish grocery market saw sales grow by 0.4 per cent in the year to December 25, with shoppers spending an additional £15.1m year-on-year, according to new data from retail analysts Kantar.
And grocery inflation stood at 10.4 per cent in December, which means the average annual grocery bill is set to rise by £503 from £4,836 to £5,339 if consumers don’t make changes to their regular shopping habits and start cutting costs.
As food and drink prices continue to climb, with average prices up 6.4 per cent compared to the year before, the impact on shopper budgets is unavoidable for many Northern Irish consumers.
As shoppers look for ways to manage costs, many are turning to cheaper alternatives such as retailer own label lines, where sales of the very cheapest value own label products are up £4m compared to last year.
But shoppers looking for ways to indulge are turning to premium own label lines where spend is up £5m year-on-year.
“Over the latest 12 weeks, grocery sales are up 5.6 per cent thanks to shoppers visiting stores 1.3 per cent more often and noticeable increases in average prices, up 9.2 per cent," according to Emer Healy, senior retail analyst at Kantar.
“Nearly 30 per cent of the population stocked up on festive treats on Friday December 23 and got into the festive spirit spending an additional £2.7m on crisps, £2.9m on cheese, £722,000 on chocolate confectionary and £4.2m on beer and lager.
“But some festive favourites failed to impress – the seasonal brussels sprouts saw sales decline with shoppers spending £223,000 less this year compared to last, even though nearly 50 per cent of household’s served them.
“Nonetheless, mince pies stood the test of time with sales up 5.5 per cent and a Christmas free of restrictions meant that 7,000 more households tucked into whole turkeys."
Tesco maintains 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, followed by Sainsbury’s (17 per cent), Asda (16.4 per cent) and Lidl (7.2 per cent), with other multiple and symbol stores making up the remainder.