Belfast Telegraph

Sainsbury's share of Northern Ireland market down further as Tesco strengthens top spot

By John Mulgrew

Sainsbury's continues to see a drop in its share of the supermarket sector in Northern Ireland, new statistics show.

Meanwhile Tesco, the largest operator here with around 50 stores, has witnessed a growth in its slice of the market, according to the figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Sainsbury's, which has 12 local stores, had a 17.2% share in the 52 weeks to April 23.

That was down from 17.6% a year earlier.

Asda's market share has also fallen in Northern Ireland, down to 17.3%.

German discounter Lidl, with 38 stores in the province, increased its share to 5.3%.

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the Republic for the 12 weeks ending April 23, 2017 show that deflation is limiting growth as supermarket prices continue to fall.

The grocery market grew by just 2.3% in the 12-week period as deflation fell to -0.3%.

Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry said: "In recent years we have seen a definite shift away from promotional deals towards more consistent, lower prices on everyday items.  Just over a quarter of all goods are now bought on promotion - down from 33% in 2014.

"With the rate of deflation in the grocery market falling even further, we expect to see this trend stick around.

"Capitalising on the indulgence of Easter, retailers have added more premium options in an attempt to convince customers to put something a little more expensive into their baskets.

"Fancier options saw the average price of Easter eggs rise eight cents to €3.05 (£2.57). With three-quarters of the population treating themselves to at least one, this meant a €3m (£2.53m) boost to the market."

Across the UK, demand for Easter eggs helped supermarket sales rise at their fastest rate since September 2013.

All 10 major operators are in growth for the first time in three-and-a-half years, with the overall grocery market rising 3.7% over the 12 weeks to April 23.

UK shoppers splashed out £325m on Easter eggs, upping the average price they paid for an egg by 8.6% to £1.65.

They also bought 20 million packets of hot cross buns in one week alone.

Tesco returned to growth with sales up 1.9% to £7.26bn over the quarter, although its market share fell to 27.5% from 28%.

Sainsbury's sales rose 1.7% to £4.25bn - the biggest increase since June 2014 despite a drop in market share to 16.1%.

Sainsbury's positive quarterly sales figures come as it cautioned over "challenging" trading and ongoing price pressures, posting an 8.2% fall in annual profits.

Asda saw its UK market share fall to 15.6% from 16% even though sales rose 0.8% to £4.1bn, its first year-on-year sales increase since October 2014.

Morrisons was the fastest growing big four grocer, helped by its The Best line attracting more affluent shoppers, with sales up 2.2% to £2.76bn.

However, its market share fell 0.2% to 10.4%.

Waitrose's market share was unchanged at 5.2%.

Belfast Telegraph