Dunnes Stores has gained share of Ireland's grocery market for the first time in almost two years, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Ireland's second-largest retailer accounted for 23.7% of the country's grocery sector for the 12 weeks to 15 May.

Dunnes' share of the market in the corresponding 12 weeks last year was 23.6%. Kantar said the growth seen in the latest period was the first time since August 2009 that Dunnes had seen its market share improve.

"The return to share growth for Dunnes Stores has been fuelled by strong sales in traditional areas such as frozen food, household cleaning, biscuits and confectionery. By using the strong presence of leading brands in these areas the retailer has been able to drive sales," said Kantar Worldpanel Ireland commercial director David Berry today (6 June).

"Dunnes Stores has also benefited from a dedicated customer base. Over this period it has regained its position as the retailer with the most loyal shoppers, demonstrating the importance of returning customers in this market."

Nevertheless, Kantar said value remained "at the top of the shopper's agenda", with Aldi and Lidl enjoying "record" market share.

Aldi increased its share of 3.4% last year to 4.3% in the most recent period - and up from 4.2% in the 12 weeks to 17 April. Lidl's market share stood at 6.1% - identical to its share in the 12 weeks to 17 April - but up 5.6% from last year.

Tesco, Ireland's largest retailer by market share, grew "slightly ahead" of the market, Kantar said. Its market share stood at 27.3%, up from 27.1% last year.

SuperValu's sales growth lagged the market, with its share down from 20% last year to 19.6%.

Meanwhile, Superquinn, which has been the subject of speculation that its owners may sell the business, saw its market share fall from 6.8% a year ago to 6.2%.