Lidl continues strong growth in NI as sales take a leap of 6.8%
Discount supermarket chain Lidl is continuing its strong growth in the Northern Ireland grocery market as sales rose by nearly 7% over the last year.
Information company Kantar said growth in sales at the German company in the 52 weeks to March 24 was the largest of any grocer in the market in the province.
Lidl, which has 38 stores in Northern Ireland, has the fourth-biggest market share of grocery spending in the province, with a 5.9% slice of the market.
It has invested significantly in its store estate and has relocated to newer, larger premises in many towns here.
But grocery giant Tesco, which has around 50 stores in the province, retained the number one spot in the market in Northern Ireland, with a share of 35.2% and sales growth of 1.2%.
And Sainsbury's market share continued at 17.3%, just ahead of Asda with 17 stores here at 17%. Sainsbury's sales were also up 0.9% on the year before. It has 14 stores in Northern Ireland.
However, Asda's sales growth was the weakest of the main four grocers, at 0.3%.
Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: "Lidl's growth of 6.8% over the past 12 months was the largest sales increase by some distance and all signs suggest this trend is set to continue. Lidl now accounts for 5.9% of the market - exactly half of the share it holds in the Republic of Ireland - which means it still has plenty of room for growth north of the border."
And in the Republic, major players Tesco and SuperValu underperformed in comparison to the rest of the grocery market in the 12 weeks to March 24.
That helped Dunnes Stores retain its place as Ireland's biggest supermarket by market share.
And growth in the Republic of Ireland grocery market was slower overall compared to the equivalent period last year, with Kantar saying that a later Easter in 2019 was a major factor.
But Mr Faughnan said this spring "could be a bumper period for the Irish grocery market".
Aldi, which does not operate in Northern Ireland, achieved a market share of 12.1% in the Republic, an all-time high. By contrast, Tesco sales grew just 0.6% year-on-year, while SuperValu sales actually fell, by 0.4%.
Mr Faughnan said SuperValu had been the supermarket most impacted by the late Easter, and by relatively higher sales over the same period in 2018.