Belfast Telegraph

Lidl figures still rising as Tesco takes a small drop

By John Mulgrew

German supermarket giant Lidl is continuing its rise in Northern Ireland with sales increasing by more than 15%.

Grocery sales across all retailers saw a small growth of 1%, with big supermarkets seeing a 1.7% rise in the 12 months to March 29.

Tesco saw its huge market share take a small drop to 35.2%.

Lidl witnessed its sales jump 15.6% year-on-year, according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel. But it still claims less than 5% of all sales across Northern Ireland.

The latest increase comes as the German giant is planning to open as many as 15 new stores in Northern Ireland. That would make it the second largest food retailer in terms of store numbers behind Tesco.

Meanwhile Asda saw some small growth of around 3% in sales, while figures for Sainsbury's remained relatively stable.

And the latest numbers are yet more good news for Lidl - which is set to open 60 stores across Ireland.

It's understood between 10 and 15 of those could be in Northern Ireland. But its fellow German rival Aldi has still held off expanding into Northern Ireland, making it the only region in the UK and Republic which remains without a branch.

And in the Republic, Tesco has been toppled as the biggest grocery retailer - with SuperValu pulling out in front in market share.

The dramatic change on the retail podium brings to an end years of dominance by Tesco in the Republic.

It first entered the Irish market in 1997, when it bought the Quinnsworth chain.

New figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that SuperValu, which is operated by the Cork-based Musgrave group, now controls 24.9% of the Republic's multi-billion grocery market. That compares to Tesco's 24.7%.SuperValu also operates 36 stores across Northern Ireland.

Kantar director David Berry said: "One of the key rules in driving sales growth is that you need to broaden your appeal to attract new consumers to your brand.

"SuperValu has consistently achieved this with eighteen consecutive periods of footfall growth increasing its shopper numbers by 63,000."

Meanwhile, supermarkets across the UK are mounting a "slow but steady fightback" as new industry figures showed a big jump in retail sales last month.

Retail like-for-like sales rose by 3.2% year-on-year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG, in the strongest growth since January last year.

The period covers the five weeks to April 4 and was flattered by pre-Easter trading. The gain is the third month in a row of retail sales improvement since a fall in December. Like-for-like sales lifted by 0.2% in February and January.

Belfast Telegraph