Lidl only grocery chain to grow Northern Ireland market share
Discount supermarket Lidl has increased its Northern Ireland market share to 6.1% with its average shopper here now buying more items in a single visit, according to research.
And overall, Northern Ireland people were making more frequent trips to the supermarket though they were buying less at a time than they used to.
Information company Kantar said Lidl's share of grocery spending had grown from 5.7% last year, with the volume of its sales up by 6.9%.
In contrast, the value of sales at Sainsbury's and Asda were down, by 0.6% and 0.8% respectively.
However, Tesco did succeed in increasing the value of its sales over the 52 weeks to August 11, with a 0.3% increase.
And the supermarket giant also remained the UK's top grocer, with a market share of 35% - though that was down from 35.3% the year before.
Tesco has around 50 stores of varying sizes in Northern Ireland, while Lidl has 39.
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And the market shares of Sainsbury's and Asda were also down, with Sainsbury's at 17.1%, compared to 17.4%. Asda's share of the market was also down by the same percentage, hitting 16.8% compared to 17.1% a year earlier. Sainsbury's has 14 stores in Northern Ireland, while Asda has 17.
Charlotte James, consumer insight director at Kantar, said: "The Northern Irish grocery market has continued to grow, with overall sales up 1.0% during the 52 weeks to August 11 2019.
"Shoppers are making smaller but more frequent trips, on average heading to the shops nearly 12 extra times during the year.
"While volume sales continue to decline, falling by 0.5%, a 1.6% increase in prices is driving growth in the overall market."
She said Tesco's market share was holding firm, and that it was the only one of the big three to increase its sales over the year.
"Tesco is following a similar trend to the overall market, with the average number of items bought per shopper down by 2.5%," she added.
While Sainsbury's market share had fallen, along with its volume sales, it was attracting more people, with 70% of householders popping in. However, the overall decline in sales was driven by smaller baskets and less frequent trips.
"At Asda, shoppers visiting more regularly failed to offset smaller basket sizes and a fall in customer numbers."
She described Lidl as "the only retailer to buck the trend and increase its market share this period". "It successfully increased its customers' basket sizes to an average of 15 items per trip, compared to 14 this time last year.
"While Lidl has experienced a fall in shopper numbers and frequency of trips, overall volumes are up 5.7%."
Meanwhile, Lidl has won planning permission to demolish and rebuild its 'barn-like' store in Limavady. Lidl originally built the Limavady supermarket in 2000, opting for a barn-like appearance in an attempt to be sympathetic to the character of the rural Co Londonderry town.