Tesco has been caught up as the second-largest retailer in Ireland by Dunnes Stores.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland showed strong growth for Dunnes as the retailer increased sales by 6.3% to draw level with Tesco.

The two stores now account for 21.6% each of the Irish grocery market, which is seeing strong growth overall, with sales up 3.7% year on year during the past 12 weeks.

“Larger trips have boosted sales for Dunnes, with the average spend increasing by €2.50 to €37.20 in the latest quarter, compared with the same time last year,” said Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry.

“Dunnes has successfully tempted shoppers to add more expensive items to their baskets, with the average price per item rising to €2.05 - an increase of 12% on last year.”

Musgrave Group’s SuperValu remains Ireland’s largest grocer with a 22.4% share of the market, increasing sales by 3.1% year on year, the third consecutive month where growth for the retailer has been above 3%.

Tesco, meanwhile, has seen value sales fall by 2.3%, though volume sales were 1.9% higher than the same time last year.

Kantar said the performance gap between value and volume sales was a reflection of a lower average price point at Tesco, in part the result of its ‘Staying Down Prices’ campaign.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said while shareholders looking forward to Tesco’s results next week would be boosted by its UK performance, it was suffering from “a choppy Irish Sea”.

“Whilst undoubtedly better than it was both at a market and company level, Tesco Ireland continues to lose market share,” he said.

“Tesco is the clear absolute and relative laggard in the Republic of Ireland grocery market.”