A COMBINATION of bank holiday weekends and scorching weather helped to boost Northern Ireland grocery sales in recent weeks, according to fresh data from analysts Kantar.
Shoppers fired up the barbecues, spending an additional £2 million on chilled burgers, grills and sausages, £3.8m on cider and £9.3m on take-home soft drinks.
Kantar said the north's grocery market saw sales grow by 8.5 per cent in the year to June 11, with shoppers spending an additional £308 year-on-year.
But with grocery inflation still standing at 16.1 per cent, it means the average annual grocery bill is set to rise by £840 from £5,221 to £6,061.
"Average food and drink prices were up 10.1 per cent compared to last year," said Kantar senior retail analyst Emer Healy.
"And as shoppers look for ways to manage costs, many are turning to cheaper alternatives such as own-label lines, where sales are up £193m compared to last year - more than branded products, which grew by £119m year-on-year."
In Northern Ireland, Tesco maintains its position as the region’s largest grocer with a 34.9 per cent share of the market, welcoming an influx of new shoppers in store alongside more frequent trips which contributed an additional £42.6m to its overall performance.
Lidl hit a new milestone with 9.1 per cent market share in Northern Ireland, seeing the strongest growth amongst all retailers.
It was up 25 per cent year-on-year alongside the largest influx of new shoppers, up 4.6 percentage points. In addition, Lidl had more frequent trips which contributed an additional £7.7m to its overall performance.
Sainsbury’s holds 16.5 per cent share and saw a boost of new shoppers, as well as an increase in volume and more frequent trips which contributed an additional £14.3m to their overall performance.
Asda has a 16 per cent slice of the market, seeing its existing shoppers purchasing more often which contributed to an additional £17.4m to its tills.