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Fast-growing Lidl boosts share of the Northern Ireland market by 8.6%

Discount supermarket giant Lidl is again the fastest-growing grocer in Northern Ireland after boosting its share of supermarket spending by nearly 9%, according to latest figures.

Former Ulster and Lions rugby player Stephen Ferris at the opening of Lidl’s largest store in Northern Ireland at Connswater

The German retailer, which has 38 stores in Northern Ireland, grew its share of the market by 8.6% in the year to August 13, according to the figures from information service Kantar Worldpanel.

Lidl now has a market share of 5.4% – behind Asda and Sainsbury’s at shares of 17.2% respectively. Tesco is at number one with a market share of 35% – up 3.1%.

Lidl has embarked on a major investment programme in Northern Ireland, where it is led by Regional Director Conor Boyle, and recently relocated to a larger unit in Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park. And it is also moving its store in Lurgan from Castle Lane to a bigger premises at Pinehurst Retail Park.

Spending in Sainsbury’s was down 0.1%, while Asda’s share had grown by the same amount.

The pace of Lidl’s growth in Northern Ireland is triple its growth in the Republic.

The Northern Ireland figures also reveal a 5.7% year on year fall in market share in the category of ‘other multiples’ – a category which includes Dunnes, Marks & Spencer and SuperValu.

In an interview earlier this month, Lidl Ireland managing director John Paul Scally said it aimed to have 50 stores in Northern Ireland and 250 in total across the island. At the moment, it has 152 stores in the Republic.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said Lidl was performing “very, very strongly” in Northern Ireland.

However, he said the company was benefiting from the absence from the Northern Ireland market of Aldi, also a German discount supermarket which has not set up here.

“Lidl’s performance in Northern Ireland is relatively similar to their performance in Great Britain, but there is a difference in that they don’t have direct Aldi competition.

“But the Northern Ireland market is as competitive, albeit with different competitors.”

Its 5.4% market share in NI compares to a share of 5.2% in Great Britain and 12% in the Republic, Mr Berry said.

“It’s clear that there is still a growing opportunity for Lidl’s model,” he said. “We have had food price inflation since the start of the year and there is no sign of the weakness of the pound stopping. The pressure on import prices is continuing.”

The BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index today reveals food prices increased by 1.3% this month on August last year, a slight increase on July’s 1.2%, with inflation on ambient food accelerating from 1.6% to 1.9%, the highest rate since December 2013.

In the Republic, SuperValu is the biggest supermarket operator with a 22.2% market share in the 12 weeks to August 13, according to Kantar.

Dunnes Stores’ market share in the Republic is 21.1%, putting it in third place.

Tesco’s share in the Republic is 22%, with its sales growing by 3.4% over the 12 weeks.

That pace of growth is the same as Aldi, which has an 11.5% share of the market.

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