Grocery sales are up 3.8% from last year as Irish shoppers spent an extra €92 million on their Christmas groceries at the end of 2016 according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

The latest set of figures, which document the 12 weeks up to January 1st, show Supervalu regaining top spot from Dunnes Stores as the Republic’s largest supermarket, with a market share of 22.8%.

The Kantar figures show Dunnes returning to second place by the smallest of margins, with a market share of 22.7%. The retailer, despite the small drop, continued to perform well with sales for the Christmas period almost 5% higher than in 2015. The average spend per trip by Dunnes shoppers also reached a new high of €41.60, significantly ahead of any other retailer. Aldi saw the strongest growth of all the retailers over the 12 weeks, with sales up by 5.3 %.

Retailers were also helped out by the calendar in 2016. Thanks to Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, shoppers had two extra days to pick up their Christmas groceries.This extra time to shop in the build-up to Christmas meant that the average household spent €193 on their Christmas festivities, €35 more than last year. Despite the extra shopping days, 55% of the population still chose to stick with tradition and tackle their ‘big shop’ on Friday, December 23rd making it the busiest day of the year for retailers.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel believes that shoppers chose to treat themselves this Christmas, particularly after the uncertainty of 2016. “ Irish families spent 9 per cent more on seasonal confectionery than last year, making sure they had plenty of sweet treats to keep them going over the festive period.” according to Berry. “ More were in the mood for a Christmas tipple too, with alcohol experiencing double-digit growth. This was partially down to more multi-buy promotions in stores tempting shoppers to up their spend,” he added.

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