SuperValu and Tesco are neck and neck in the fiercely fought battle to be Ireland’s largest supermarket as the crucial Christmas period fast approaches.

According to the latest figures published by Kantar Worldpanel both retail giants are neck and neck in 1st place with 22.0% of overall grocery market share. Both retailers have seen sales growth in the 12 weeks ending 8 October and this has contributed to the tie for top spot. Tesco has seen strong growth of 4.2%, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from this time last year. SuperValu has also seen an increase in sales up 0.5%. SuperValu and Tesco have both been successful in encouraging customers to spend more in store, SuperValu has seen consumers spend an additional 40 cents per basket on average while Tesco has encouraged its shoppers to increase their shop by €1.

Dunnes Stores sits in third place, 0.1 percentage points behind the top two. Lidl and Aldi both increasing sales year on year – up 3.0% and 2.8% respectively. Both posted small gains in their share of the market with Lidl’s market share increased to 11.7%, while Aldi’s rose by 0.1 percentage point to 11.6%.Deflation has eased and overall, supermarket sales are up 2.1% year on year. Dave Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel says “With the festive period just around the corner – the time of year when sales spike and shoppers aren’t afraid to spend that little bit extra – the competition shows no signs of abating.”

In good news for brands, there has been a shift back towards branded goods after the recent trend for own-label goods. This time last year, the sales of branded items dropped by 0.5% compared to 2015. This trend seems to be reversing with sales up by 1.3%. According to Mr Berry, “At Christmas, shoppers tend to flock back to brands – partly for sentimental reasons and also as people are tempted to trade up at this time of year – so with the countdown to the festive season now well and truly underway, it’s likely we’ll see this trend continues into the new year.”