Despite grocery inflation reaching 6.3 percent, rising sales of cold drinks, biscuits and frozen meals have lifted the local grocery market over the past 12 weeks, according to Kantor’s latest data.

Intar’s figures for the year to September are less positive, showing a 3.6 per cent drop in sales with average price per pack up 4.7 per cent and everyday essentials such as milk and pasta averaging Prices have increased by 16.1 percent and 14.4 percent respectively.

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“The picture over the past 12 weeks is very different, as grocery sales increased by 3.5 percent and average price per pack increased by 8.5 percent,” said Emer Haley, senior retail analyst.

“Consumers in Northern Ireland prepare for back-to-school by making an average of 53 trips to stores to get their essentials, spending an extra £592,000 on cold drinks, £2.5m on biscuits and £2.9m on frozen meals. Quick and convenient meal solutions.”

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The latest Kantar figures also highlight Lidl’s strongest growth, at +12.6% over the past two years, with a 7% share of the Northern Ireland grocery market. The ‘other’ multiples, which include M&S, increased their market share by +1.3% over the same period.

Brand retailers were down -6.4% from their heyday during the lockdown two years ago but represented the only category to post year-on-year growth in market share (+0.7%).

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“Tesco maintains its position at the top of the table and is Northern Ireland’s largest grocer with a 35.7% market share,” Healy said. “Tesco welcomed an influx of new shoppers into the store which contributed an extra £42.7m to their overall performance.

“Sainsbury’s has a 17.1% share with Asda just behind on 16.3%, as each saw more than 10,000 shoppers in store.

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“Among all retailers, Lidl had the highest increase in new shoppers at 9%, spending an extra £20.9m.”

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