Belfast Telegraph

Lidl increases slice of Northern Ireland supermarket sector

By John Mulgrew

German supermarket giant Lidl is continuing to grab a bigger bite of the Northern Ireland market, with other smaller chains also increasing their portion.

The discounter saw its sales increase by 3.1% in the 52 weeks to July 2016, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Asda is also on the rise, with sales up 2.9%, according to the latest figures.

But Lidl's increase in market share across Northern Ireland is beginning to slow.

Despite the rise in sales, Lidl still only represents 5.1% of the total supermarket spend here.

Tesco and Sainsbury's have continued to see small decreases in sales, however, both remain a large presence in the overall grocery market.

Tesco has just over a third of the total spend in Northern Ireland, with Sainsbury's and Asda both on 17.6%.

Speaking about Lidl, retail analyst Donald McFetridge said part of its hard sell is "continuing to offer quality products at affordable prices".

"When Lidl set up retail operations and opened stores in Northern Ireland no-one had any idea of how rapid their growth would turn out to be," he said.

It currently has 38 stores across Northern Ireland.

"Lidl quietly opened stores in locations which were of little interest to the British multiples and, although their outlets are much smaller than those required by the major supermarket groups, they very quickly established a niche in the marketplace for consumers keen to shop at lower prices in 'no-frills' outlets," Mr McFetridge added.

"Consumers these days have learned that they don't have to sacrifice quality when they go shopping at discount outlets.

"There are clearly lessons here for the multiples who are still struggling to grow market share as they continue to try to outstrip each other by competing on price alone.

Meanwhile, the cost of a basket of groceries across the UK increased by 1% in July, according to the mySupermarket website.

Belfast Telegraph