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Tesco's share of shoppers drops by 2%

By John Mulgrew

Tesco's iron grip on Northern Ireland's retail market is shrinking as the supermarket giant became the only big retailer to see footfall drop in the last year.

While still the largest supermarket here, its share fell by around 2% in the 52 weeks to January 3, compared with the same period a year earlier.

But rivals Asda and Sainsbury's saw modest growth, while Lidl continues to expand. It grew its share of the market to 4.9% for the same period - up around a fifth year-on-year.

Despite the growth, Tesco still dominates the market, accounting for more than a third of grocery spending in Northern Ireland.

In the Republic, Tesco saw an improved picture over the Christmas period, with sales up marginally versus last year in the past 12 weeks.

But a breakdown of the Christmas period for Northern Ireland was not available.

In the UK as a whole, Tesco saw a small rise in sales, according to its latest trading update.

Northern Ireland's biggest grocery chain, which has around 55 stores of different sizes, hailed a "strong Christmas" after revealing a 1.3% rise in UK like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 9.

Meanwhile, rival Asda has announced job losses in the "low hundreds" in its Leeds head office, which employs 3,000 people.

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