There are some very interesting nuggets in the latest market share insights. Kantar data for 12 w/e 21st April 2019 places Dunnes 1st with 22.2% share, followed by SuperValu on 21.8% and Tesco on 21.4%. Aldi & Lidl are 11.9% and 11.5% respectively. The Dunnes ‘Shop & Save’ mechanism has proven an effective tool for driving bigger trolley shops and increased spend on brands and premium private labels. It has been matched by some excellent work in-store with re-vamps done in Cornelscourt, Stephens Green, Rathmines, Blanchardstown, Bishopstown and several more. SuperValu have taken a similar approach issuing money off vouchers to real rewards members via the app and local mail-outs, though on a much smaller scale. Even Tesco issued ‘stretch spend’ coupons in their pre-Easter mail-out. It must be noted that the market share numbers do not account for the discount value delivered via vouchers, so Dunnes, SuperValu & Tesco’s share figures are somewhat inflated. The million dollar question is by how much?
What’s in this read?
This 12 wk period runs from Monday 28th January to Sunday 21st April, and like the last read, is highly congested, including mini sales events like Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day as well as the bigger event at Easter. The key to success on most of these mini-events was a simple range and the ability to effectively turn-over from one event to the next, but the game changes slightly at Easter.
Easter is a mini Christmas, a reasonably big event, touching almost every category in the store, with full seasonal ad campaigns, specific product launches, seasonal spikes and troughs. And a relatively late Easter on 21st April brings its own character since Easter can vary from as early as 23rd March (2008) to 24th April (2011) so Easter can have winter eating trends one year and BBQ the next. Theoretically, the big multiples should see share tip upwards slightly, since they are better at big events. Consequently, the discounters should see share tip downwards.
Period on Period Performance
So, how did the individual retailers fair, moving into Easter trading?
Looking at the simple progression of market share in the last few months we can see a few things:
1. The big three multiples still have a definite advantage over the discounters during big events, especially Christmas.
2. This advantage is less clear-cut at Easter. It’s a big event, but not so big that the discounter supply chain can’t entirely cope with the spike in Easter week.
We can see that SuperValu and Tesco improved share as they traded Easter but Dunnes are the exception, with share dipping slightly from 22.3% to 22.2% most recently, suggesting that Easter is a less ‘premium’ event than Christmas. Lidl look to have had a lacklustre Easter, with share declining by -0.3% points, from 11.8% to 11.5%, period on period. Similarly, Aldi share dropped by -0.2% points from their high of 12.1% to 11.9% when Easter trade is included.
Share Year on Year
Looking only at simple share progression will often give you a bum steer, however. It’s always useful to look at the YOY position. Tesco and Supervalu saw declining market share year on year, with all other retailers growing. Crucially, Dunnes are the only multiple to have grown share year on year during Easter, thanks to vouchers, re-vamped stores and active premium private label range development. This is much more indicative of the longer term trend where discounters, especially Aldi, continue to gain share at the expense of multiples.
Who had a good Easter?
Tesco market share was -0.9% behind last year, which would suggest that they accepted a lot of coupons last Easter. Their in-store offer at Easter looked very compelling, with plenty of branded and private label Easter Eggs right up until Easter, a major draw for last-minute shoppers. SuperValu year on year share was -0.3%, suggesting a decent Easter, perhaps thanks to their 48hr Specials. It’s certainly a fairer reflection since the -0.9% position at the previous read was impacted by one-off benefits they saw during Storm Emma last year. Dunnes had a better Easter than 2018, winning share +0.3% above last year but perhaps their offer was too ‘premium’ for Easter. Their Simply Better leaflet looked fabulous, but Easter does not see the kind of trade-up that Christmas does so this may have disadvantaged them. Lidl had a distinctly average Easter. I couldn’t find any whole turkeys, whole lamb legs, hot cross buns or branded Easter Eggs in the final trading days. This would have impacted their performance as they saw the strongest period on period market share decline through Easter trading. Aldi continue their performance with what looks like a great Easter. They saw the strongest year on year share growth of all retailers, gaining +0.7% points thanks to getting the basics consistently right. They had the right product range, with good availability right up until close on Easter Saturday. It looks like they followed the Christmas plan by ensuring strong availability to avail of the full sales opportunity but following up with a decisive and effective clearance plan from Easter Monday.
Feargal Quinn RIP
Feargal Quinn passed away a few weeks back and I think it’s only right that we note it here. He was an innovator, and like the best innovators, he knew he didn’t always have to come up with the ideas. So, he encouraged his team to try things, and some of these ideas have really stood the test of time. It’s Sean’s Brown Bread that makes me smile the most. Created by Sean Blake in 1993 in Superquinn Walkinstown, Feargal quickly rolled it out to the other Superquinn stores. Fast forward 25 years and some sparky category managers are doing their gap analysis and spot an opportunity for a version of their own ‘named baker’ brown soda bread. Now Aldi have Emma’s Brown Bread and Tesco have Sheila’s Brown Bread. They may be unaware of the heritage of this product, but every time they sell one it’s a nod of respect to Feargal Quinn and his people like Sean Blake.