Retail sector Insights H1 2021 & Outlook H2 2021

Head of Retail at Bank of Ireland Owen Clifford outlines how the sector performed in H2 2021.


  • Robust performance: Exceptional performance delivered by the sector linked to Covid-19 continued into H1 2021. Shopping behaviour and frequency patterns returning to more normalised trends linked to the vaccine roll-out.
  • Sustainable Future: A commitment to reduce carbon footprint retains a strong focus from all leading brands in the Irish market. Store revamps, fleet management, use of alternative energy sources all being proactively utilsed to improve the sectors environmental credentials.
  • Investment: Store purchase activity has been particularly strong in H1 2021 and this trend along with increased store revamp activity is expected to continue in H2 2021. Bank of Ireland continues to actively engage and and support grocery retailers with their investment plans.

H1 2021 Key Trends

  • Strong growth in take-home grocery sales linked to Covid-19 continued. Growth of 18% delivered in 2021 ytd v pre-pandemic performance in 2019 per Kantar Grocery market share.
  • Supervalu and Dunnes continued to compete strongly for the no. 1 spot in grocery market share; Supervalu benefiting from its extensive community focused store network and online capability and Dunnes delivering a strong performance in the Dublin region. Aldi and Lidl continue to maintain a strong foothold in the Irish market.
  • Covid-19 has driven a large divergence in performance amongst convenience focused operators. Neighbourhood stores (Centra and Eurospar) have reported a strong performance whereas many city-centre stores have seen a significant deterioration in footfall linked to increased working from home practices, reduction in tourism/sports events etc. Forecourt stores have delivered an improved performance with many acting as regional top-up stores.
  • The Irish consumer now expects a frictionless/accessible shopping experience with strong investment in click and collect services being noteworthy across all leading brands. The provenance/origin of products continues to inform/guide shopping trends and behaviour.

Full report:

Retail sector Insights & Outlook H1 2021
Owen Clifford
Owen Clifford is head of Retail at Bank of Ireland.



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