Grocery Retail Recruitment Q&A

Grocery Retail Recruitment Q&A

Our Director of Grocery Retail, Nikki Murran, featured in a recent edition of ShelfLife magazine’s Recruitment Q&A to answer some of the most prevalent questions within the grocery retail sector.

Q: In today’s competitive marketplace, retailers are finding it difficult to secure experienced staff. What would you say are the main factors behind this and how significant is this issue currently within Ireland’s grocery industry?

A: There is any number of factors contributing to the staffing crisis, but I feel the most obvious issues are as follows:

Supply has decreased: We started the pandemic from a place of near perfect unemployment but the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) allowed candidates to opt out of the workforce for an extended period of time. This caused a proportion of the retail sector to return home to other European countries during the pandemic and the last two years has seen a number of candidates leave the retail industry to pursue roles in other sectors.
Demand has increased: 2020 saw an additional €2 billion in grocery sales and still, to date, we are seeing an additional €200 per household per quarter being spent in the grocery sector. The DIY retail trade has also seen a substantial increase in many stores with no slowdown in sight and reports of pent-up demand still in play from 2020/21.

Q: How can your knowledge and experience within the FMCG industry help retailers to circumvent the current recruitment challenges?

A: Excel Recruitment has been recruiting for and supporting the Irish retail sector for the past 20 years. When it comes to retail recruitment, no other company has more experience in the Irish market. We are a team of retailers, recruiting for retailers. With over 85% of our business coming from repeat customers, we know we’re providing an excellent service. We take the time to understand the needs of each store by thoroughly screening the candidates from our extensive database and our team also provides honest feedback to clients and candidates throughout the recruiting process to ensure the perfect match for the role.

Q: What advice would you give retailers to ensure their employment packages stand out from competitors and can attract the best talent available?

A: Some of the key factors to take into account are as follows:
Tailor each package depending on the role / candidate
This is where we’ve seen the best successes in the market. It’s important to understand what each potential candidate is looking for in their next career move. Time and again, clients are tempted to offer more money to candidates. However, by understanding a candidate’s motivations – you may find that additional annual leave, healthcare discounts or reduced hours are more likely to secure your preferred hire.

Think outside the box
Small benefits like discounts on local gyms, canteen discounts, extra days of annual leave for birthdays, free tea, coffee and newspapers go a lot further than you may think! These small inexpensive perks are a great way to attract candidates. Be sure to list all your perks – no matter how small and include them with every job that you are looking to hire for.

Profit share
With basic salaries going up, this can be an ideal option by putting in place bonuses linked to a store’s profitability. You can offer outstanding on-target earnings without impacting your store’s wage budget.

Q: From the job candidate’s perspective, how will you help them to prepare for their best interview performance?

A: We tailor our candidate preparation depending on each individual, and the role that they are going for. By getting to know each candidate and by understanding their past experience/future ambitions, we’re positioning ourselves to support the candidate through each step of the hiring process. This can be anything from helping them to phrase answers, giving them the company background, suggesting the best stores for them to visit beforehand or teaching them how to conduct a virtual interview. And sometimes, we’re just simply a sounding board for a candidate to voice their concerns.

Q: It has become increasingly common for employers to hold multiple interviews. What specific advice would you give candidates when embarking on the second or third round of interviews?

A: I would recommend to clients to get all decision makers to sit in on the first interview so that you can conduct a thorough first round. This allows us to move at a faster pace in this overheated market and leaves no need for subsequent rounds. However, if you are a candidate who is called back for additional rounds:

  • Treat it like the first round! You may be meeting a new interviewer – and it is imperative you come across as well prepared, professional, interested and engaged as you did in the first round.
  • Don’t worry about repeating information from the first round – often the previous interviewer is anxious for the new interviewer to hear what you had to say.
  • Prepare and recap on your preparation for round one. Think about any questions you would like to have asked and prepare answers for any questions you felt you underperformed on during the previous rounds.
  • They liked you in round one, so relax, be yourself and enjoy!

Q: As we tentatively emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, do you believe that staff shortages will significantly lessen in the next 12 months?

A: No, looking forward, I can’t see any factors in play that will dramatically increase supply or decrease demand so it’s hard to see how these shortages will cease in the near future. Having said that, I do believe there are still great people available in the retail industry, if you know where to look. It’s essential to have a strong recruitment partner now more than ever to recruit talent for your business, and we will continue to help our clients and candidates in whatever way we can.

You can check out all our live retail jobs here. For more information you can contact Nikki on 01 814 8747 or email nikki@excelrecruitment.com.

 

Grocery Retail Jobs

Grocery Retail Salary Outlook 2022

Key Trends in the Grocery Retail Industry

Over the last 12 months, we have yet again seen how robust and adaptive the Irish grocery retail sector really is. Not only have we witnessed the growth in sales across the industry as a whole, but we’ve also watched as this incredible industry, and the people in it, spectacularly met the ever-changing challenges that 2021 brought!

In the second half of the year, Retailers faced peaks in demand for top talent in all areas of the grocery sector. The re-opening of the non-food and hospitality sectors carried further challenges as retailers encountered staff shortages in many of their entry level roles.

This, coupled with an exodus of many staff to their home countries saw pressure across many stores to keep their staffing levels at a rate that could match their store needs.

The areas most impacted are mainly in fresh foods with delicatessens, bakeries, and butchers. The salary increases across 2021 reflect this.

We have also seen an increase in the entry level management roles since the rise in the minimum wage in 2020 along with the Pandemic Unemployment Payment which forced retailers to up the entry-level hourly rates in many circumstances.

This has caused a knock-on effect for many of the Supervisor and Trainee Manager salaries in the last 12 months.

What Are Employers Doing?

Across the industry, employers are still seeking ways to grow, retain and attract top talent. Similar to previous years, employers are still working hard and trying to think ‘outside the box’ to keep talented staff.

Furthermore, there is a particular focus on work-life balance, culture, and progression. Another important aspect that employers should place a strong focus on is keeping his/her staff safe whilst in the workplace.

Much like last year, 2022 looks set to be a challenging but exciting time for the Irish grocery retail. Despite a testing 2021 and facing into a somewhat uncertain 2022, retailers remain as passionate and as energetic about the industry as ever.

What’s Next?

If you wish to discuss the findings of this guide or how we can assist with your recruitment needs, please feel free to contact us at www.excelrecruitment.com.

Alternatively, you can call us on 01 814 8747 or email Nikki, our Director of Grocery Retail at nikki@excelrecruitment.com.

We have compiled this guide which is supported by data from the best retail managers across the country. This guide is designed to give our clients a guide to the current market prices for the various roles within the Irish grocery market.

If you would like more information on the Grocery Retail Salary Outlook for 2022, please click here for the Grocery Retail Salary Guide 2022.

Butcher Jobs Market

Butcher Jobs Market Update: High demand sees employers responding

Claire Byrne is a part of Excel Recruitment’s award-winning grocery retail recruitment team specialising in butcher recruitment. Here, she discusses what the current butcher jobs market looks like….

Like patio furniture during a heatwave, butchers are in high demand.

Consumers increasingly want to eat better meat and know more about the meat they are eating. Not only where it’s from, but how to cook it, how to eat it, what cuts will work best for them or go further for their family. A knowledgeable butcher is key to this education.

Covid has only accelerated this, but few could have predicted just how much. People are having to eat at home at levels never seen before, and are embracing it, investing the time and effort into cooking.

Customers and store managers, from independents to nationwide supermarkets, are more and more recognising the importance of having a great butcher or butchers on their team.

What does this mean for butchers on the jobs market?

Basically, it has never been a better time to be a butcher. As fresh food categories boom, butchers are highly sought after and aware of the salaries they can gain on the job market.

Employers are seeing in real-time how customers respond to having great butchers in-store and what this means for sales. Adding to this is a tighter talent market which employers are working hard to address. Our grocery clients are working to not retain the butcher talent they have but also to attract more to their business.

Salaries and pay rates are more flexible and reflective of the value butchers bring to the business. Outside of salary, the best employers are looking at the whole package and work culture. They are want to invest in their careers of their butcher team, providing more opportunities to learn, gain new skills and move up in the business. Work is also being around work-life balance and creating a great team culture.

Butchery is a skilled job, requiring years of training and a high level of dedication. More and more employers are recognising this and the opportunities for a butcher looking for a new job are endless.

At Excel, it couldn’t be easier to find butcher jobs, simply give me a call on 01-8717613 and I’ll take care of the rest! To view any of our live grocery jobs, click here.

 

 

Retail Recruitment

The Excel Recruitment Podcast: Grocery Careers

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In the first instalment of our new podcast, Excel Recruitment CEO Barry Whelan and Director of Grocery Retail Nikki Murran discuss careers in grocery retail, the current recruitment market and why COVID-19 has shown the benefits of a career in grocery.

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SuperValu Blanchardstown’s Jamie Caffrey named National Grocery Retail Manager of the Year 2020

Now in their 15th year, the ShelfLife Grocery Management Awards once again recognised individual management excellence in the grocery sector and honoured the talent in each department that make up our supermarkets and convenience stores.

While the standard of entrants was as high as ever, this year’s ceremony marked a break from tradition due to COVID-19. Broadcast virtually live from the RDS, the audience tuned in to watch MC, RTE’s Karina Buckley, announce the winners of the ShelfLife Grocery Management Awards. After a year like no other, the nation’s gratitude to our retailers was expressed by Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, who said “I wanted to congratulate you on your achievement but I also wanted to thank you…. I want you to know when we thank the frontline heroes throughout 2020, that includes the people working in grocery, that includes the people working in our petrol stations, in our convenience stores, in our supermarkets. The people who got up every morning and looked after us.”

The night’s biggest award, Supreme Champion for 2020 was awarded to Jamie Caffrey of SuperValu Blanchardstown with the judges praising Caffrey and her achievements, “Our winner has spent the last 18 months making the store more customer-friendly, more profitable and a more enjoyable place to work.” Excel Recruitment’s own Nikki Murran summed up Jamie as “a trailblazer in the world of grocery retail,” having started in the retail trade at only 16 and at only 23, having already been promoted to store manager.

Excel Recruitment is proud to be involved with the GMAs since the award’s beginning. We would like to thank everyone who entered the awards in what has been a strange and challenging year and say a huge congratulations to all 15 deserving winners.

Delicatessen / Food to Go Manager of the Year

Linda O’Sullivan,
Eurospar Cobh,
Co. Cork

Cash & Carry Manager of the Year

Tom Ryan,
Value Centre,
Hebron Road,
Co. Kilkenny

Off-Licence Manager

Shane McNulty,
SuperValu Ballinteer,
Dublin 16

Protein/Provisions Manager

Jason Mc Donagh,
SuperValu Lucan,
Co. Dublin

HR Manager of the Year

Carley Dennan,
SuperValu,
Blackrock,
Co. Dublin

Brand Marketing Team

Premier Lotteries

Small C-Store Manager of the Year

Rebecca Murphy,
Herlihy’s Centra Grand Parade,
Co.Cork

Medium C-Store Manager of the Year

Alan O’Donnell,
Daybreak Cahir,
Co. Tipperary

Large C-Store Manager of the Year

Briege O’Kane,
Top Oil Newhall,
Naas,
Co. Kildare

Small Forecourt Manager of the Year

David Martin,
Mace,
Glanmire,
Co. Cork

Large Forecourt Manager of the Year
Ian Leahy

Maxol Ballincollig,
Co. Cork

Supermarket Manager of the Year (Small)

Tanya McGarry,
Charlesland,
Greystones,
Co. Wicklow

Supermarket Manager of the Year (Mid-Large)

Doug Thompson,
SuperValu
Sundrive,
Dublin 6

Retail Team of the Year

Londis St. James Hospital, Dublin 8

Supreme Champion

Jamie Caffrey,
SuperValu,
Blanchardstown,
Dublin

Grocery Management Awards 2020 Shortlist

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We are excited to reveal the shortlisted nominees for the 2020 Shelflife Grocery Management Awards!

The ShelfLife Grocery Management Awards 2020 are now in their 15th year and Excel Recruitment is proud to have been involved since the beginning. Despite the uncertainty of this year, the team have adapted the judging process and ceremony to continue honouring the Irish grocery retail sector, in a year where the sector’s importance has been highlighted to everyone. As usual, the standard of entries was exceptionally high, showcasing the talent, creativity and diligence within grocery retail management.

This year’s Grocery Management Awards gala ceremony takes place on 10 December and will be broadcast live from the RDS in Dublin. Check out the list of shortlisted nominees below.

 

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Retail Team of the Year 2020

Sponsored by BRANDHUB

XL Shop at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9
Daybreak Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Herlihys Centra, Fermoy, Co. Cork
SuperValu Castletroy, Limerick
Londis James Hospital, Dublin 8
SuperValu Walkinstown, Dublin 12
SuperValu Blackrock, Co. Dublin
SuperValu Northside, Dublin 17

Delicatessen/Food to Go Manager

Helen Taylor, Daybreak Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Eoin Crosbie, Crosbie’s Daybreak Irishtown, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Annah Yesayan, Herlihy’s Centra, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork City
Zlata Vacova, Herlihy’s Centra Grand Parade, Cork City
Jason Plazo, Griffins Londis Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Tina Delaney, Daybreak, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Aiden Sheahan, Corrib Oil Tralee, Co. Kerry
Claire Dineen, Daybreak Clerihan, Co. Tipperary
Lestor Valencia, Griffin’s Londis Carmnhall Rd., Sandyford, Dublin 18
Tomislav Dobrijevic, Griffins Londis, Parkwest, Dublin 12
Joe Canning, SuperValu Sundrive, Dublin 6
Linda O’Sullivan, Eurospar Cobh, Co. Cork
Aoife O Hara, Herlihy’s Patricks Street, Fermoy, Co. Cork

Cash & Carry Manager

Sponsored by BAT

Winner announced at the show

Off-Licence Manager of the Year

Sponsored by Bibendum Ireland

Shane McNulty, SuperValu Ballinteer, Dublin 16
Denise Cummins, Herlihy’s Centra, Patrick’s Street, Fermoy, Cork
Robert Mooney, SuperValu Sutton Cross, Dublin 13

Protein/Provisions Manager of the Year

Sponsored by EIQA

Dominic Kelleher, Herlihy’s Centra, Fermoy, Cork
Jason Mc Donagh, SuperValu Lucan, Co. Dublin
Alan Curley, SuperValu Sutton Cross, Dublin 13

HR Manager of the Year

Sponsored by Excel Recruitment

Louise Kelly, Asia Market, Ballymount, Dublin 12
Carley Dennan, SuperValu, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
Jessica Maher, SuperValu, Lucan, Co. Dublin
Susan Doherty, Kelly’s Centra, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Nichola Deere, Castletroy, Dublin Road, Co. Limerick
Janine McCormack, SuperValu, Sundrive, Dublin 12

C-Store Manager of the Year (Large)

Sponsored by PepsiCo

Sean Hennessy, Corrib Oil Tralee, Co. Kerry
Nick Ye, Londis DCU Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Martin Rodgers, Kelly’s Centra, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Briege O’Kane, Top Oil Newhall, Naas, Co. Kildare

C-Store Manager of the Year (Mid-Size)

Colum Browne, XL Clogheen, Co. Tipperary
Aivars Mezapuke, Spar Caple St, Dublin 1
Alan O’Donnell, Daybreak Cahir, Co. Tipperary
Grainne Keating, Scully’s XL Daingean, Co. Offaly
Dean Hand, Daybreak Clerihan, Co. Tipperary
Simon McCarthy, Londis Fonthill, Dublin 22
Ger Kelly, Delaneys Mace Tuam Road, Co. Galway
Deirdre Stoneham, Londis Top Oil, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

C-Store Manager of the Year (Small)

Eoin Crosbie, Daybreak Rustic Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
Raj Kodali, Herlihy’s Centra Patrick Street, Cork
Martina Webb, Londis St James Hospital, Dublin 8
Lucia Fitzpatrick, Spar Rathangan, Co. Kildare
Tony Geelan, Geelan’s XL, Waddington, Cleariestown, Co.Wexford
Rebecca Murphy, Herlihy’s Centra Grand Parade, Co.Cork
Jane Mooney, Smyth’s Daybreak, Williamstown, Co. Galway
Abdullah Saghir, Griffin’s Londis, 49 Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Imran Ishfaq, Griffin’s Londis, 14/15 Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 2
Christopher Lane, Hanrahan’s Londis, The Faythe, Wexford town, Co. Wexford
Liam O’Brien, Kernan’s XL, Drumboy, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Forecourt Manager of the Year (Large)

Sponsored by Seattle’s Best

Denise Farrell, Mace Headford, Co. Galway
Brian Joyce, The Galway Plaza, Athenry, Co. Galway
Ian Leahy, Herlihy’s Maxol Service Station, Ballincollig Co. Cork

Forecourt Manager of the Year (Small)

Sponsored by Seattle’s Best

Pedro Gamelas, Daybreak Castletownbere, Co. Cork
Kevin Forde, Daybreak Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Daniel Gherca, Daybreak Ballinalack, Co. Westmeath
Matthew Monaghan, XL Salthill, Co. Galway
David Martin, Mace, Glanmire, Co. Cork
Ela Oczachowska, Brackens Gala, Stradbally, Co. Laois

Supermarket Manager of the Year (Mid-Large)

Sponsored by Johnston Shopfitters

Chris O’ Driscoll, SuperValu Castletroy, Co. Limerick
Doug Thompson, SuperValu Sundrive, Dublin 6
Edgaras Stanius, SuperValu Walkinstown, Dublin 12
Jamie Caffrey, SuperValu, Blanchardstown, Dublin
David Howell – SuperValu Lucan, Co. Dublin

Supermarket Manager of the Year (Small)

Sponsored by Bank of Ireland

James Brennan, SuperValu Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Jonathan Mooney, Eurospar Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Tanya McGarry, Charlesland, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Tommy Murphy, Burkes Eurospar, Kinvara, Co. Galway
Shane Jones, Eurospar, Cobh, Co. Cork
Fintan Battles, Liddy’s Eurospar, Ennis, Co. Clare
Simon Champ, Herlihy’s, Fermoy, Co. Cork

Brand Marketing Team

Sponsored by BWG Foods

Premiere Lotteries
JTI/Logic
Fulfil
Heineken
Coca-Cola HBC Ireland

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How, and why, to think long-term when hiring during post lockdown uncertainty

As a country, we continue to balance the fight against COVID-19 with the fight to rebound against its effects on the economy. Businesses are also moving from focusing on operating safely to focusing on their longer-term goals; while still operating in an uncertain and constantly changing landscape. This leads many managers to question their strategies for hiring during post lockdown uncertainty.

What this means in recruitment terms, is that hiring someone new at any level is now a more important decision than ever. Even for business with bright long-term futures, the uncertainty that’s affecting the entire world has understandably hindered everyone’s ability to plan anything, from holidays to houses to new hires. Below are a few tips to ensure you maximise the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts for the long-term, even as things continue to change.

Take stock

Now more than ever it is crucial to be clear on the needs and goals of your business, and who you may need to hire to achieve these. Taking a step back and actively assessing your current team’s strengths and weaknesses can allow you to identify potential gaps in talent or assess whether it may be a simpler issue of retraining, motivating or even promoting your current team. By refocusing on the long-term vision for the business, as well as current needs rather than just making the quickest/ cheapest/ most convenient hire, you are less likely to make a potentially costly mistake.

Quality over quantity

An unfortunate fact of this pandemic is that more people from a wide range of industries are now looking for work. Many are looking for a change of sector, either temporarily until things return to normal or permanently. Open vacancies, including those that were headaches to fill just a few months ago, are now seeing a huge spike in applications. While this sounds great, shifting through unqualified or unsuitable candidates can be time-consuming, particularly if you’re not looking with a focused eye. While it is important to stay open-minded to transferable skills and experience, by building the profile of your ideal hire before you start recruiting, you’re less likely to waste on unsuitable CVs or make a snap decision on who to hire for the sake of speeding up the process.

Candidate experience

While we are no longer operating in the candidate’s market we were just a few short months ago, it is important to remember that to have high calibre staff, you must first attract a pool of high calibre candidates. While there are now more active jobseekers generally, grocery retail is still a competitive and thriving employment market and you want to ensure you’re attracting the best applicants possible.

Budgets are tighter and employers want to avoid having to offer candidates more and more money to entice them to move. But salary isn’t the be-all and end-all for candidates either. Factors such as commute, work/life balance, company culture and career progression are all still priorities to candidates regardless of COVID-19 and should be highlighted throughout the recruitment process.

Remember the soft skills

Although there is a lot to be positive about as the country returns to normal, there is still uncertainty around the economy with government guidelines being revised and reassessed as needed. As frontline workers during the entirety of lockdown, those working in the grocery industry know more than anyone how crucial it is to be able to react and pivot quickly, while simultaneously remaining welcoming and friendly to customers. Resilience, adaptability flexibility and positivity are qualities in your team and potential new staff that cannot be underestimated as we continue to learn how to operate in post lockdown life.

Coronavirus shines a light on careers in food retail

As the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc both on local but also on the global jobs market, leaving many unemployed, furloughed or working reduced hours as employers implemented sweeping cost-cutting measures and forced closures, I think most of us either working in or supplying to the grocery trade, felt blessed to have taken a career path that involved food and food retail writes CEO Barry Whelan…

The age-old adage ‘everybody eats’ really made sense as we saw businesses that had survived the last recession forced to close such as hair dressers and of course pubs and restaurants, while supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations remained open for business.

The resilience of the grocery trade to recession and economic shocks, even those created by a pandemic, is heartening for those of us who work in the industry and attractive to job seekers who want to join an industry that survived these most challenging times.

I myself think to resilience isn’t just driven by the fact that because people have to eat every day, we will always have customers because of this, but I believe the resilience comes from deeper factors that include how well run the grocery trade is and how competitive the market is.

Supply chain stressors

Firstly, a great example of how the grocery retail trade in Ireland is extremely well run, is when we look to the start of the pandemic and the panic buying that took place across the country. Each player in the industry, whether they are a multiple, discounter or symbol had to contend with this phenomenon, which came completely out of leftfield. Across the world, consumers really panicked, stripping stores of food and commodities, leaving empty toilet roll sections, pasta shelves and home baking isles. Later in the crisis, as the meat factories recorded outbreaks, freezers were filled with beef, lamb and pork. No buyer or planner or supermarket manager, no matter how much of a genius they are, could forecast what would be the next item to undergo a frenzied uplift, who knew the entire population of Ireland would don their aprons and go all Mary Berry on us!

Despite all this random frenzied buying, the supply chains held, the distribution centres ran, the trucks rolled and the store staff, management and of course suppliers worked tirelessly to restock shelves and alleviate the panic that had engulfed the Irish and indeed worldwide consumer.

Retail workers were propelled to front line employee status and thanked on billboards around the country and as the majority of the population sat at home growing out there hair and beards and probably drinking too much, we got to stay in normality, getting up each day and going to work, mostly with customers who appreciated that we had done so.

Online shopping

Competition in the trade had created diversification and some of our larger retailers had embraced online shopping. These retailers had to cope with unprecedented demand on this part of their business, using stores as distribution centres, with staff having to stock and then unstock the shelves themselves to fulfil ecommerce orders. Businesses prioritised at risk customers and got on top of demand as fast as possible, managing a complex and unprofitable part of their business to maximum effect, delivering needed groceries to those most affected by the pandemic. Retailers need to be commended for their efforts here both in food and non-food ecommerce, another great example of how well our retailers are run.

Never has there been a better time to shine a light on careers in food retail. The COVID-19 crisis has shown that food retail and those who supply into in, are resilient to economic shock, populated with extremely well-run businesses that are robust and can cope with change. This is truly a great industry to enjoy a career in.

Grocery Retail Market Shares

SuperValu ahead of Dunnes as overall grocery sales increase by 17.2%

Grocery sales in Ireland increased by 17.2% in the 12 weeks to 19 April as shoppers adjusted to life under lockdown. While grocery sales in the main are strong, retailers will have felt the effects of social distancing restrictions on food on the go purchasing and other non-grocery categories.

According to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, year-on-year grocery growth slowed slightly from March levels to 22.5%. The average household visited the grocers 19 times, two times fewer than the same period last year as people followed Government advice to stay at home. “It’s been a challenging few weeks and we’ve all been grateful for how hard the grocery retailers have been working to keep us fed and watered. In the absence of dinners with friends and lunch on the go, many more meals are being eaten in the home and grocery sales have risen accordingly. But social distancing means people are less likely to be buying categories like clothes, food on the go, and general merchandise. This means for some retailers, the overall picture will be more modest.” explains David Berry, managing director of Kantar Ireland.

David Berry continues:In an effort to get everything they need in one go and cater for all the additional meals and snacks eaten at home, shoppers are adding an extra four items to their baskets each visit, increasing their monthly grocery bill by €118 on average. The change in shopper behaviour adds up to an extra €440 million spent on grocery in the past 12 weeks, but this additional spend is impacting individual retailers in different ways.

Grocery Market Share

In terms of individual retailer’s growth, Lidl was the fastest-growing of all the retailers over the 12-weeks boosting sales by 22.1% and increasing its market share to 12%. Aldi grew by 15.6% to hold an 11.8% share. SuperValu’s large store network meant the retailer benefitted from shoppers choosing to visit outlets closer to home, and was the only retailer not to experience reduced footfall during the past four weeks. David Berry says “Before lockdown, Dunnes customers already spent 80% more than the average shopper each visit at €43.80, which means the retailer has experienced less of a jump in spending per trip than those grocers starting from a lower base. Dunnes is growing slightly behind the rest of the market as a result, but these are extremely narrow margins and only 0.5 percentage points separate the three retailers at the top of the table.”

Online shopping increases while ready meals decline

Not unexpectedly, demand for online grocery soared as people try to limit their contact with others. 10% of Irish households received an online grocery delivery in the past four weeks compared with 6% last year with an additional €20.6 million spent online this month.

Another consumer trend during life in lockdown according to David Berry is an increase in home cooking. “People are turning to cooking from scratch as a good way to keep their families entertained at home. Sales of ready meals are in decline but 50% of Irish households bought baking supplies in the past four weeks, with flour up 52% and sugar up 43%. Those shoppers trying to recreate their favourite takeaway dishes have also boosted sales of ethnic ingredients by 41% and herbs and spices by 61%.”

Grocery Retail Market Shares

Dunnes remain top grocery retailer as Lidl and Aldi growth continues

Dunnes Stores retained top spot in the battle of the supermarkets with a 21.8% market share for the 12-week period ending July 14. This marks its 11th straight time on top of the grocery retail market. Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar, said Dunnes had attracted an additional 65,000 shoppers during the 12-week period with shoppers spending an average of €42 per visit, the most of any supermarket. He said Dunnes typically performs strongest in the second half of the year so these figures mean the retailer has “a solid base as we move towards its core trading season.”

In line with the overall market trend for increased spending by consumers, Lidl has seen the greatest increase of as shoppers bought more of its premium products. Douglas Faughnan explains: “While Lidl has witnessed a slight rise in overall shopper numbers, its success encouraging people to trade up to its premium own label and branded lines is a key reason behind its growth. Nearly 100,000 more shoppers bought Lidl’s top tier own label products this period compared to last, with an additional 13, 000 shoppers buying branded goods as well.” Lidl recently opened their 200th store and announced plans for 50 more stores around Ireland in the coming years.

Both Dunnes and Lidl have capitalised on a growing trend among shoppers who prefer to prepare meals from scratch. Inspired by the success of meal kit brands and convenience cookbooks, recent package deals on the constituent ingredients for home-cooked classics like spaghetti carbonara and bolognese have been popular at both retailers.

Aldi has seen the most dramatic growth of all the retailers during this period, with growth hitting double digits. Sales at the discounter were 12.8% higher than a year ago for a 12.5% share – both records for the German retailer. Lidl’s 5.4% year-on-year sales growth leaves it on 12.2%.