Tesco tops Northern Ireland's grocery share league but Lidl triumphs in growth of sales
German discount retailer Lidl continues to claim the strongest growth in grocery sales here at - but the symbol groups are suffering, according to supermarket research.
The Kantar Worldpanel Northern Ireland Supermarket Share survey showed that Lidl, which has 38 stores here, has the strongest increase in consumer spend over the past year at 5.7%, even though it holds the smallest market share overall.
Tesco consumer spend was up 2.3%, followed by Sainsbury's, which saw an increase of 1.9%.
Asda was at the bottom of the supermarket growth league as it experienced a rise in consumer spend of just 0.2%.The research also showed that Tesco, which has around 50 stores here, continues to dominate the sector with a market share of 35.2%.
Sainsbury's and Asda hold 17.4% and 17.1% respectively, while Lidl holds 5.6% of the market - a rise of 0.2% over the past year.
Asda and Sainsbury's, which have 17 and 14 stores here respectively, are in talks over a merger.
David Berry, director of Kantar Worldpanel, said the results show a shift in consumer shopping patterns towards larger trolley shops, hitting the symbol groups like Mace, Spar and Centra, which suffered a 2.2% loss in consumer sales. Mr Berry added: "The Northern Irish market is growing at 1.4%, despite shoppers making fewer trips to supermarkets, a trend that has been apparent since October 2017.
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"We're seeing a move towards larger trolley shops: these have increased by 1.8% as customers make nine fewer trips to the grocers.
"Tesco has counteracted a slight dip in shopper numbers by encouraging consumers to up their spend - over the course of the year, customers have on average spent an additional £47.30.
"As the dominant retailer in the Northern Irish market, Tesco continues to perform strongly, boosting its market share by 0.3 percentage points compared to this time last year with sales growth of 2.3%.
"Meanwhile, Sainsbury's has experienced sales growth of 1.9%, increasing its market share by 0.1 percentage points. Customers shopped at Sainsbury's more frequently and spent an extra £1.20 per trip.
"With sales up 5.7%, Lidl posted the strongest growth of the retailers by encouraging shoppers to up their spend by £1.50 per trip and it now holds market share of 5.6%. Asda experienced growth of 0.2%, despite dropping market share by 0.2 percentage points to 17.1%."
Kantar Worldpanel's results were published just as league table leader Tesco announced a new "long-term alliance" with French supermarket giant Carrefour.
The multiple said the deal would allow it to enter into relationships with global suppliers. It is expected that the partnership, which will be formally agreed within the next two months, will allow both names to pass on lower prices to consumers.
Dave Lewis, Tesco group chief executive, said: "I'm delighted to be entering into a strategic alliance with Carrefour.
"By working together and making the most of our collective product expertise and sourcing capability, we will be able to serve our customers even better, further improving choice, quality and value."
Alexandre Bompard, chairman and chief executive of Carrefour, said the "major agreement" would "combine the purchasing expertise of two world leaders".