That is according to the latest figures from Kantar, which show that the grocer benefited from the biggest influx of new shoppers among all the retailers, a trend which added €34.6 million to its overall performance.
Overall Sales Declined
Overall Irish grocery market sales declined by 6.4% over the period.
However, growth remains strong compared with pre-pandemic times, and grocery sales were up by 8.9% compared to the same period in 2019. Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, commented, “It’s important to remember that grocery sales are now being compared with last November when non-essential shops and offices were closed. But life in the latest four weeks has been very different to this time last year as the hospitality sector is open and many people are working in the office for at least part of the week.
"We have been buying less for meals at home and as a result, grocery sales dropped by 7.1% during the past month. However, with new restrictions in place again from early December, we expect to see this decline soften as people spend more time around their kitchen tables in the coming weeks."
Increased PricesExcitement over Christmas has been slightly dampened this year with the news of the Omicron variant and concern over rising inflation.
“Grocery price inflation stands at 1.2% over the latest 12 weeks as prices have been put under pressure by a series of supply chain issues complicated by Brexit and the pandemic," Healy noted.
"Shoppers will inevitably feel the impact on their Christmas budgets this year and we’re already seeing prices for some festive staples nudge up."
The price of a Christmas meal for four now stands at €30.97, which is 4.3% higher than it was last year.
“Despite higher prices, shoppers are still eager to make up for lost time this Christmas and it’s clear that people are in the mood for a well-deserved treat after a long year of lockdowns," Healy said.
“Premium own-label sales are rising, up by 2.4% over the latest 12 weeks. We saw premium own-label sales break records last December when sales topped €140 million and the figure may be even larger this year.”
Online Sales SurgeOnline grocery sales also received a boost.
The research showed that more than one in ten people purchased groceries online this month and as a result digital grocery sales soared by 14.3% over the past four weeks.
Healy highlighted, "First-time online grocery converts were the main driver behind the jump in sales, showing the channel is yet to hit its ceiling in Ireland. We could see online orders grow even further as people start to limit time spent out of their homes under the latest restrictions.”SuperValu and Tesco have heavily invested in growing their digital capabilities since the start of the pandemic and achieved particular success through the channel this month, with online sales up by 8.8% and 11.4% respectively.Both
Healy continued, “While all the major grocers achieved growth compared with two years ago, tough comparisons against the high sales of 2020 meant year-on-year grocery spend was down across the market.
"Various lockdowns have shifted the goalposts in terms of how and where people shop, and it will be interesting to see how new restrictions impact consumer behaviour over the festive period."