Sales in the Irish grocery market hit record levels as shoppers splashed out EUR208.2 million in the Easter week alone helping the overall sector grow by 4.1 percent in the 12 weeks to 21 April 2019, according to the latest figures from Kantar on May 7, 2019.

Meanwhile, SuperValu’s return to growth means all the major retailers are once again on an upward trajectory, with Dunnes taking the crown of the nation’s largest grocer for the eighth consecutive period.

Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: “With both the St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday and the Easter weekend giving shoppers cause for celebration over the past 12 weeks, there have been plenty of excuses for people to get in-store and spend.

Shopper visits to the major retailers grew by 1.3 percent on last year, yielding an additional EUR28.7 million of value. Consumers spent a total of EUR44 million on Easter eggs leading up to Easter Sunday.”

Dunnes posted sales growth of 6.1 percent on its way to retaining the number one position – the highest increase the retailer has seen since November 2016. In contrast to other retailers, Dunnes’ growth has been driven by private label sales.

Douglas Faughnan explained: “Dunnes has continued to push towards premium items through its Simply Better collection and partnerships with specialists like James Whelan Butchers and Sheridans Cheesemongers. Encouragingly for Dunnes, shoppers appear to be happy to spend more in-store. The average price paid at the retailer is up 1.9 percent on last year, generating an extra EUR10 million in sales.”

Mr. Faughnan continued: “Tesco’s growth of 2.8 percent is its strongest of the year so far. It’s all the more impressive that the retailer has managed to maintain increasing sales considering at this time last year it was growing at 6.2 percent. Tesco’s label offer now accounts for 47 percent of its sales and is increasing at 4.3 percent, boosting the retailer’s overall performance.”

SuperValu’s return to growth this period was bolstered by a robust performance in fresh food. Fresh lamb, fish, and beef sales were up by 13.2 percent, 12.8 percent, and 11.0 percent, respectively.

Aldi and Lidl are continuing to perform strongly in Dublin and are making significant gains outside of the capital as well. Growth of 18 percent for Aldi in the Connaught and Ulster region was the most robust increase recorded by any retailer in any one region. Aldi is growing fastest with younger shoppers, who account for 16 percent of the retailer’s overall sales.

Lidl’s 13 percent growth in Munster makes it the fastest growing grocer in the southern provinces. Lidl now accounts for 11.8 percent of the market. Brands continue to play a major role in its success, now accounting for just under one out of every 10 items bought after growth of 28 percent on last year.