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Wine and chocolate sales soar as Valentine's rush sees bumper February for supermarkets

The latest figures show the Irish grocery market grew by 3.5% in the 12 weeks.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

GROCERY SALES INCREASED by 3.5% in the latest retail period thanks, in part, to a bumper Valentine’s trade which saw  the sale of traditional gifts surge.

Traditional Valentine’s Day luxuries such as chocolate and wine received a boost and it was Dunnes Stores which remained Ireland’s top retailer, while Aldi recorded double digit sales growth.

The latest figures show the Irish grocery market grew by 3.5% in the 12 weeks to 24 February 2019, putting the sector on a solid footing as the UK finalises preparations to leave the EU.  

After a period of deflation, an upward trajectory in grocery prices is making a significant contribution to growth, according to industry specialists Kantar.  
Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said that grocery prices rose by a further 1.5% in the most recent 12 weeks, marking the first time an increase has been recorded for four consecutive periods since February 2017. 

But it was convenience store Valentine’s gifts which saw many shops enjoy a February boost. 

He said: “While many shoppers may have treated their other halves to an evening on the town for Valentine’s Day, supermarkets cashed in from those choosing to celebrate at home.

 “Convenience continues to be a major priority for people celebrating with a night in.  Valentine’s Day is no different, helping drive overall sales of chilled ready meals and chilled desserts, which grew by 8.4% and 6.9% in the past three months.”


The market has also benefited from a weaker pound. 

Faughnan added: ” A stronger euro to sterling exchange rate has made British imported goods and ingredients cheaper, allowing retailers to pass some of those savings on to Irish consumers.  However, with prices already rising as Britain’s exit from the EU draws near, increases are likely to continue for the rest of the year.  

“More than €3.5 billion of food is imported to Ireland from the UK, which means currency fluctuation can have a substantial impact on grocery prices.”

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