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Growth in NI grocery market is 'steady' as Lidl leads way again

Lidl continues to fly the flag for budget grocery retail as it tops the charts as the fastest-growing supermarket here, according to new data.

The figures from information company Kantar on market share in Northern Ireland for the 52 weeks up to November 3 showed that the German retailer, which has almost 40 stores here, boosted its sales by 5.8% with a rise in its share of the market of 0.3% to 6.1%.

It was only one of two supermarkets to experience growth in its market share over the past year with Tesco, which is the largest supermarket here with 50 stores, growing its share by 0.1% to 35.3%.

Tesco's sales for the year also rose by 0.9%. But in contrast, sales fell at its closest competitors Asda and Sainsbury's. Asda faired worse out of the big four, experiencing a drop in sales of 1.7% and dropping its share of the grocery market from 17.1% to 16.7%.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's sales dropped by 1.5% while its share decreased from 17.4% to 17% over the same period.

Charlotte Scott, consumer insight director at Kantar, said growth in the Northern Ireland grocery market had remained steady at 0.7% over the period.

She attributed that growth to the frequency of trips, which rose by 4.3% compared to 12 months ago.

"It's been another strong month for Tesco, which was once again the only one of the three largest retailers to achieve growth in the past 52 weeks - increasing its market share to 35.3% with sales up by 0.9%.

"Falling basket sizes were outweighed by an increase in shopper frequency as Tesco customers made an average of eight more trips to the retailer this year than they did last," added Ms Scott.

She said growth at Lidl was "partially driven" by a rise in pack prices - which were up 4.5% - "although the retailer also enjoyed an increased number of shoppers and bigger baskets".

The symbol groups here, which include names like Henderson's Spar and Eurospar stores as well as Musgrave's Centra and SuperValu outlets, grew their share of the market by 0.2% to 8.0%.

They also experienced a surge in sales of 3.4% which was the second highest growth next to Lidl.

The supermarket has consistently boosted its performance in the market share research over the years and today announced that it will introduced the new Real Living Wage its staff.

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