Asda sales slump by 2.5% as Tesco keeps leading grocer spot
Supermarket giant Asda is drawing fewer shoppers to its 17 stores here with sales in Northern Ireland down 2.5% over the last year, according to research.
Market research company Kantar said the fall in the value of sales at Asda left it with a market share of 16.6% in the grocery market here.
Sainsbury's, which has 14 Northern Ireland stores, also saw its sales shrink by 1.2%, leaving it with a market share of 17%.
The latest report from Kantar includes the key Christmas retail period.
However, German discounter Lidl reported growth of 4.2% in the value of its sales in the year to December 29, with a market share of 6.1%.
But Tesco retained its position as Northern Ireland's number one retailer, adding 1.5% to the value of its sales and seeing out 2019 with a market share of 35.6%.
Overall, growth in the grocery market was slow at just 0.4% in the 52 weeks to December 29. And volume sales were down by 0.4%, as people were buying less.
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Other multiples, a category which includes Dunnes, also reported a fall in sales of 0.5% and a market share of 8.7%. However, 'symbol' retailers, a category which refers to convenience stores like Spar, Centra and Mace, increased their sales by 1.6% and had a market share of 8%.
Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: "Despite prices rising on average by 1p per item, this was offset by customers adding fewer goods to their baskets."
With Tesco the only one of the three top grocers to grow sales, she said: "Falling basket sizes were outweighed by shoppers making an average of seven more trips to the retailer than they did this time last year."
She said that basket sizes were growing at Asda but that the business was "struggling with a loss of shoppers" with visits down 2.%.
In contrast, basket sizes at Sainsbury's were falling, suggesting people were making smaller and more frequent trips. Prices were up 1%.
She said Lidl's growth in sales had enabled it to add 0.2 percentage points to market share. However, basket prices were down at Lidl.
"While people shopping at Lidl bought less, the retailer did benefit from a rise in pack prices, suggesting that shoppers were choosing more premium options."