Inflationary pressure is keeping the Irish grocery market in growth in the run up to Christmas, according to research released today (20 December).

Growth reached 1.6% for the 12 weeks to 28 November, slightly ahead of the 1.4% growth recorded in the previous period, according to Kantar Worldpanel research.

The growth, Kantar noted, is being driven by price increases, with grocery inflation rising from 3.3% in November to 4.2% this month and reaching the highest level since 2009.

“On top of price increases, the December budget cuts have added to consumer woes this month,” said David Berry, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel. “In response to this, shoppers have reduced the size of their weekly shopping basket and continued to trade down to cheaper products, causing market growth to fall behind inflation.”

He added: “We’re seeing this in growing sales of cheaper private-label products which now capture a third of our grocery spend. There is no sign yet of the traditional swing back to branded products in the run up to Christmas.”

As a result, discount stores have benefited, with Aldi and Lidl both growing their market share by 0.4% and 0.5% respectively during the period. However, Tesco came out on top amongst the multiples, maintaining growth of 5.8% and increasing its share to 27%.

Elsewhere, both SuperValu and Dunnes have lost market share.