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Growth in Irish grocery market but uncertain times ahead

SuperValu retained its position as Ireland’s largest retailer, growing its sales by 1.4% and capturing 22.6% of market share.

The recent EU referendum result and weakening of the pound against the euro could see many Irish shoppers return to old habits – heading across the border in search of better value at UK retailers in Northern Ireland, suggests Kantar Worldpanel.

While such cross-border shopping only accounted for 0.3% of Irish grocery sales in the latest 12 week period, at the peak of the recession it stood at 4.1%, the shopper behaviour expert said.

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the 12 weeks June 19, show continued growth for the grocery market with sales up 2.5% on the same period last year.

Return to shopping ‘little and often

Kantar Worldpanel insight director Georgieann Harrington said the average spend per household has increased €27 this year, largely thanks to an increased number of shopping trips. But while the average household has made 62 visits on average over the past 12 weeks, compared with 58 trips last year, the number of items per basket has fallen

And though the grocery market is in growth, the landscape remains competitive, she said.

Most major Irish retailers see sales rises

With the exception of Tesco, all of the major retailers in Ireland saw increased sales in the past 12 weeks.

Dunnes Stores had the strongest performance, growing sales by 5.9%, attracting an extra 13,000 shoppers to its stores this year with the average spend up nearly €20. Lidl logged the second highest sales growth – 5.8% – mainly due to attracting 55,000 more shoppers. Aldi’s sales grew 3.6% in the latest quarter, with the discounter also recruiting an impressive 37,000 customers versus last year.

SuperValu retained its position as Ireland’s largest retailer, growing its sales by 1.4% and capturing 22.6% of market share. Harrington said SuperValu’s success is largely down to persuading the average shopper to spend an extra €14 per trip, no doubt driven by its ‘Let’s Get Cooking’ campaign.

“Sales remain challenging for Tesco in second place: the retailer saw a decline of 2.7% in the past 12 weeks. It’s not all bad news for Ireland’s number two retailer though, with the number of visits to its stores edging up: from 14 on average last year to 15 this year,” she said.


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Record numbers shop at Lidl in Ireland

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, published today for the 12 weeks ending 22 May 2016, show a strong sales boost for the grocery market with sales increasing by 4.0% compared with last year.

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest supermarket share figures for – for the 12 weeks to May 22 – show a strong sales boost for the grocery market with sales increasing by 4.0% compared with last year, the global expert in shoppers’ behaviour reports.

Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry said the data shows consumers are making more frequent visits to supermarkets, averaging an additional four trips in the latest 12 weeks compared with last year. “Coupled with increased prices this means that the average household is spending an additional €50 on groceries this year, amounting to an extra €89 million for the market.”

In terms of grocery market share for the latest 12 week period, SuperValu, which enjoyed its tenth consecutive period of growth, was in the lead – for the eighth month in a row – with a 22.7% share of the market. It was closely followed by Tesco with 22.4% and Dunnes with 21.4%. Berry noted Tesco saw its first growth in footfall in 10 periods, “suggesting its investment in keeping prices down may be starting to pay off.”

“Lidl continues to post impressive sales growth as more consumers choose to shop with the retailer – a record 72.4% of all Irish households shopped in a Lidl store in the last quarter, widening the gap between it and rival discounter Aldi. Sales growth for Aldi stands at 2.4% in the latest quarter – a positive step up from the previous results for April and an early sign that sales growth might be starting to improve again,” he said.


source: ​Grocery spend continues to rise, record numbers shop at Lidl, 07/06/2016, Kantar Worldpanel Ireland


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Fruit and vegetable sources for the UK & Ireland

The UK is a big consumer of banana and other exotic fruits, such as pineapples, mangoes, papayas and avocados.

While the UK sources most of its fruit from outside the European Union, it buys most of its vegetables from within the EU

UK fresh produce imports – of both vegetables and fruit – have increased 12% in value in the last three years.

Total fruits imports rose from €2.56 billion in 2013 to €3.26 billion in 2015. Intra-EU imports represent 40% of UK imports, while extra-EU imports represent 60%.

Spain is the top foreign fruit source for the UK, but its other import markets are mostly non-European countries. Last year, Spain supplied the UK with 679,523 tons of fresh fruits, followed by South Africa and Costa Rica with 346,359 and 303,221 tons respectively.

The UK is a big consumer of banana and other exotic fruits, such as pineapples, mangoes, papayas and avocados. In 2015, a total of 1.14 million tons of banana and 313,116 tons of exotic fruits were imported into the UK.

According to a recent survey by the UK government (see Food Pocketbook 2015), prices are 5.7% higher in the UK than elsewhere in Europe.

Spain and the Netherlands: top suppliers of the UK vegetables market

Concerning vegetables, imports are stronger with European partners. More than 80% of imported vegetables in the UK were provided by a European partner in 2015 (€2.98 billion for 2.73 million tons). Vegetable volumes dropped slightly – from 3.66 million tons in 2013 to 3.39 million tons in 2015 – but the values rose from €3.41 billion to €3.85 billion.

With a total of 1.01 million tons, Spain is the UK’s top supplier, followed by the Netherlands with 744,239 tons. Spain and the Netherlands together supplied 64% of the volume of the UK’s vegetable imports.

The bulk of imported vegetables came from Southern Europe, such as tomatoes (329,526 tons), onions and garlic (173,617 tons). Imports of potatoes and carrots fell to 136,984 tons (-74% over 2013-15) and 63,534 tons (-22%) respectively, but the UK imported more legumes (+55%).

Ireland: Europe the main source

Ireland’s fruit and vegetable imports have generally increased since 2013 both in volume and in value. Its vegetable imports reached 332,794 tons in 2015 (+5% on 2013) for a total value of €289.04 million, while fruit imports totalled 304,910 tons (+8% on 2013) for a value of €403.73 million.

Bananas are the top category for Irish imports (85,630 tons), followed by apples and pears (67,759 tons in 2015) and citrus (63,999 tons). In term of value, apples and pears were the most lucrative category with nearly €73.3 million.

The UK, the Netherlands (both major re-exporters) and Spain together supply more than 80% of Ireland’s vegetables imports but its fruit sources are more diversified. The UK is Ireland’s top source for fruit, last year supplying 49,913 tons, which represented 16% of Ireland’s total fruit imports. Neck and neck in second position were Costa Rica and the Netherlands with 39,345 and 39,192 tons respectively.


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Musgrave wins store design awards

Ireland’s Musgrave Group recently won the A.R.E. gold design award for Best Supermarket, for its flagship SuperValu store, in Blackrock, Dublin, and another for Best Convenience Store, for its Centra store in O’Connell Street, Limerick.

New store concepts for its SuperValu and Centra banners have seen Ireland’s Musgrave Group bag two prestigious design awards.

At GlobalShop 2016 – held in Las Vegas in March and billed as the world’s largest annual retail design show – the retail group walked away with the A.R.E. (Association for Retail Environments) gold design award for Best Supermarket, for its flagship SuperValu store, in Blackrock, Dublin, and another for Best Convenience Store, for its Centra store in O’Connell Street, Limerick.

In a press release, Musgrave said the awards recognise the very best in international retail design, “so we were up against some serious contenders on the global stage.”

“The SuperValu and Centra projects complemented the conference’s big focus on customer experience design and what it means for retail.

“The store concepts were acknowledged for responding to the new food trends on the rise, improving the in-store experience and truly differentiating themselves from competitors.

“Our SuperValu ‘Food Festival’ concept was recognised for celebrating the shared joy of food, with the renewed energy that champions quality, people, local and freshness,” it said.

SuperValu store in Blackrock, Dublin

According to design consultancy Household, among the features of the SuperValu store in Blackrock is the juice bar in the fruit and vegetable section, which it described as “another standout service experience where customers pick their own produce to be blended in-store.”

Household said Centra has shifted from ‘convenience store’ to ‘convenient eating destination’ with the new format store in Limerick.

“Centra had successfully held its own through the recession in Ireland, but as the economy improved the brand wanted to rethink its high-convenience (or ‘Hi-C’) format stores. Centra needed to compete for the new customer who has more money to spend and is interested in healthy living,” it said.

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Musgrave Ireland Rejoins GLOBALG.A.P. as a Retail Member

Musgrave Ireland Rejoins GLOBALG.A.P. as a Retail Member in 2016

Headquartered in Cork, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland is the largest division of the multi-billion euro Musgrave Group, which delivers sourcing, sales, marketing and supply chain expertise so local entrepreneurs can compete head-to-head with international supermarket chains. This year it has rejoined GLOBALG.A.P. as a retail member, according to a GLOBALG.A.P. press release.

Ray Bowe, head of Food Safety & Quality at Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland said the retail group aims to strengthen its cooperation with GLOBALG.A.P. to increase transparency in its global supply chains. “GLOBALG.A.P. Certification is a basic requirement for all fruit and vegetables suppliers outside of Ireland. We are looking forward to working with the GLOBALG.A.P. team and to use the great network provided by the association to further deliver our food safety, quality and sustainability goals,” Bowe said.

Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland has a 1,300 employee-strong supply chain operation servicing over 700 SuperValu and Centra supermarkets and convenience shops in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and more than 190 stores under the Mace brand in Northern Ireland. Both the SuperValu and Centra Brands have the leading market shares in the retail and convenience categories in Ireland, respectively. Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland also operates 6 distribution centers.

Founded in Cork by the Musgrave brothers, Thomas and Stuart, in 1876, Musgrave Group plc. is a family-owned business that supports thousands of other family businesses and their local communities in Ireland, UK and Spain. It is not only the largest private company in Ireland by turnover, with sales of €4.6 billion in 2014, it’s also the country’s biggest private sector employer.

Together with its retail partners the company employs more than 35,000 people in Ireland.

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SuperValu remains Ireland’s largest grocery retailer


The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel show SuperValu remains Ireland’s largest grocery retailer as Christmas approaches. 

Based on data for the 12 weeks ending 6 December, SuperValu held a 24.7% share of Ireland’s grocery market, while Tesco remained in second place with a 24.1% share.   

Kantar Worldpanel director David Berry said it hasn’t been all plain sailing for SuperValu. “Over the past six months the retailer has seen falling shopper numbers, but in the past 12 weeks it has managed to get that issue under control. This has allowed SuperValu to strengthen its position at the top, posting impressive sales growth of 3.7% and increasing its share of the grocery market to 24.7%. Alongside a strong performance in its traditional heartland – fruit and vegetables – the grocer also posted excellent sales in confectionery, crisps and snacks and soft drinks during the past quarter,” he said.

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Grocery sales up in Ireland

Kantar Worldpanel says Ireland’s grocery market is improving and shoppers visiting supermarkets more often and putting more in their baskets.

The Irish retail landscape remains challenging despite growth as retailers battle hard to hold on to shoppers post-Christmas, reports Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland.

After a strong performance at Christmas, Irish grocery market sales were up 1.2% for the 12 weeks ending February 1.

Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight director Georgieann Harrington said there are clear signs Ireland’s grocery market is improving along with the overall economy. “Shoppers are taking advantage of lower grocery prices by visiting the supermarkets more often and putting more in their baskets when they go. On average, consumers increased their grocery spending by €5 in the latest period,” she said.

“The battle for shoppers will continue well into 2015 and this will create more value for Irish households as retailers go head to head.”

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest supermarket share rankings – for the 12 weeks ending February 1 – were:

  1. Tesco: has maintained its market-leading position, holding just over a quarter of the market, though its sales are down 2.1% on the same time last year;

  2. SuperValu: continues to grow and now holds just under a quarter share of the market;

  3. Dunnes: with a 23.8% share, has seen its basket spend increase by 3% to just over €35 and its sales growth of 1.7% made it the best performing supermarket;

  4. Aldi: has an 8% share and has also continued to perform well, achieving 11.5% sales growth as its shoppers spend more on each visit;

  5. Lidl: with 7.4% continued its strong performance with 12.5% sales growth and shoppers visiting its stores more often. Three in five Irish households shopped in either Lidl or Aldi in the previous 12 weeks.

Kantar Ireland rankings.png

Data to February 1, 2015 (source: Kantar Worldpanel)

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Expansion in Ireland’s prepared fruit and vegetable market



Growth in the fruit and vegetable convenience category is highlighted in a recent article from Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.

Horticulture Division Manager Mike Neary writes that Kantar Worldpanel market research values Ireland’s prepared fruit and vegetable sales at €84 million at the retail point.

The growth in the prepared fruit and vegetable category in the retail market in recent years is evidence of the important role that convenience plays in the purchase decisions of households, he said.

According to Kantar, since 2008 the volume of sales in this category has grown 8%. “One of the drivers of this trend is the number of households that are now purchasing from this category, which has reached over 92% of all households. This is a 1.5% increase since 2012. The purchase frequency is 24 times per annum,” Neary said.

Fruit salad products performing the strongest

Private label products dominate the prepared fruit and vegetable category, with a 77% market share. Key lines in this category include vegetables, fruit, leafy salads, mixed tray salads and chilled salads, with the latter accounting for two fifths of the volume sales. However, in the last year it was fruit salad products that performed the strongest.

Neary said the Kantar research also showed people in the ‘pre- family’ stage are more likely to buy mixed tray salads, while retired shoppers are more likely to buy prepared fruit.

Prepared fruit & veg market benefits from convenience trend