Discount retailer Lidl has reported the strongest sales growth of the main supermarkets in Northern Ireland with an increase of 10.2%, according to a report.
ndustry body Kantar also said visitors to Lidl were spending 12.5% more.
It said the grocery market as a whole in Northern Ireland had grown by 7.4% during the 52 weeks to August 9.
Lidl, which has around 38 stores here, may have had the strongest sales growth - but Tesco retains its position at the top with growth of 8.4% and market share of 35.3%.
Despite its strong sales growth, Lidl still has the smallest market share of the 'big four' at 6.2%. Sainsbury's, which has 14 stores here, also increased sales by 7.6% and maintained its number two position with a market share of 17.1%.
And Asda, with 17 stores, also succeeded in boosting sales, with growth of 2.3% and a market share of 16%.
However, sales were down 0.2% at "other multiples" - a category which includes retailers such as Iceland and Marks and Spencer. But the category of "total symbols" - which refers to convenience stores such as Spar, Eurospar, Centra and Mace - grew their sales by 15.6%. Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, said supermarket sales had accelerated as lockdown was eased, with growth of 13.6% over the last 12 weeks.
She said that as well as growing sales, Lidl had also gained 0.1 percentage points in market share. "It welcomed new shoppers through its doors and average spend per trip also increased by 12.5%. Higher average prices, growing by 1.3%, also contributed to its success."
Tesco and Sainsbury's were also benefiting from a bigger spend by their customers. However, visitors to Asda shops were outdoing shoppers at other grocers, with volumes up 17%.
And Ms Healy said customers were still reaching for more cleaning products as concerns continue over transmission of Covid-19. And even though lockdown has eased, comfort food was still a priority. "As the country moves away from the extremes of lockdown, it's evident that cleanliness remains front of mind for consumers and sales of household and cleaning products were up 13.6% over the latest 12 weeks. Take home confectionery as well as crisps and snacks have also grown ahead of the market at 19% and 21.4% respectively over the same period as shoppers continue to look for ways to treat themselves."
Footfall on high streets in Northern Ireland has fallen by over 10% over the last week. However, there were more visitors to shopping centres around the province, with footfall up 8.4%. Across all destinations, footfall was down 5.8%.