Supervalu cottage pie

The Irish grocery market has slipped into deflation for the first time in almost two years, dropping 0.7 percentage points month on month to -0.2%, according to latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

This was down from the 0.5% growth seen last month.

Kantar Worldpanel attributed the fall for the 12 weeks ending 26 March 2017, to the fact that the Easter weekend was not represented in the figures this year.

The recent return to deflation also contributed to the slowing of growth, Kantar said.

One of the main trends within the Irish grocery market this year is shoppers’ move towards own-label. These goods now accounting for 54% of total grocery spend, up 6% in the past four years. Kantar said that discount retailers Aldi and Lidl were a major contributing factor.

SuperValu regained the title of Ireland’s largest grocer, having been pipped to the post by Dunnes Stores for the past two months.

Dunnes sales grew by 3.2% year on year - the 30th consecutive period of growth for the retailer. Lidl’s success also continued as the retailer experienced a 3.7% increase in sales. Shoppers visited the store once more over the past 12 weeks, compared with the same period last year.

Aldi remained Ireland’s fasting-growing retailer, with sales growing by 5%. It increased its market share to 11.3%.

“The battle to attract shoppers remains fierce as ever as SuperValu makes its way back to the number one spot,” said David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“After two consecutive months at the top, Dunnes was unable to remain Ireland’s largest supermarket for a third month with SuperValu finishing 0.3 percentage points ahead of the retailer.”

Berry said this was the first time since May 2015 that grocery prices were falling, so consumers were likely to have a little extra cash to hand.

“Many will see the break from inflation as a chance to cut down their grocery costs and pocket the savings instead,” he said.