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Grocery sales boomed in October ahead of Level 5 restrictions

Compared to last year, 50% more Irish shoppers have bought their Christmas turkey already.

Image: Shutterstock/Lin Xiu Xiu

SHOPPERS STOCKING UP ahead of the introduction of Level 5 restrictions contributed to a 14.4% increase in grocery sales in the 12 weeks leading up to November, the latest figures from data insights company Kantar reveal.

Irish shoppers spent over €1 billion on take-home groceries in October, €161.6 million more than last year.

October was “the biggest month for grocery sales since the height of the previous lockdown in June”,  according to Emer Healy, a retail analyst with Kantar.

“It all feels a far cry from August, when restrictions on eating and drinking out were eased, and the average monthly grocery bill was €200 lower,” she added.

With a 22.2% share of the market — up 10.9% from last year — Dunnes Stores was the best performing supermarket chain over the period, according to the figures. 

“Its sales were particularly strong in Dublin, where shoppers have been living under lockdown since mid-September and spent an additional €38.8 million at the retailer in the latest 12 weeks. Grocery sales growth in the capital was the fastest across all regions this period, ” Healy said.  

Meanwhile, online grocery sales have continued to grow across the board, increasing 90% year-on-year in October. 

Healy added, “Online grocery continues to set new records, with almost 255,000 of us shopping through digital channels in October. 

“New converts to online grocery contributed an additional €30.8 million to the market in the past month as tighter restrictions were introduced. Shoppers also increased the size of their digital trolleys by 9.6%.”

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Seasonal shopping

The latest figures also reveal the impact the pandemic is having on our seasonal shopping habits.

With trick or treating off the cards this year, Halloween was a bit different for retailers and shoppers alike.

Sales of multipack sweets declined by 40% compared with October 2019, while sales of pumpkins also dropped by 15.5%.

“It’s not all doom and gloom though,” Healy explained.

“Lockdown has led some Irish shoppers to get into the Christmas spirit unseasonably early.  They are getting ahead on preparations for the big day and 50% more shoppers have bought their Christmas turkey than had at this point last year, while sales of mince pies are up 36.8% and boxed chocolate sales by 44%.” 

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