Latest figures for the supermarket sector show Aldi and Lidl continue to grow quickly while Dunnes Stores and Tesco lose market share. 

The data is produced by research company Kantar World Panel which surveys shopping patterns by 3,000 Irish households. 

Tesco remains the biggest player with a market share of 26.3%, down from 27.7% a year ago. SuperValu remained at 25% while Dunnes Stores fell from 22.1% to 21.6%. 

"Aldi continues to be the strongest performing retailer, with a 22% increase in sales lifting its share of the market to a new record level of 8%, commented David Berry, commercial director of Kantar World Panel.  

"The reason for its success is in line with the overall market, with shoppers buying more items and spending more each time they visit an Aldi store.  Lidl has also posted double digit sales growth, boosting its market share from 6.9% last year to 7.6%," he added.

Mr Berry said the grocery market is seeing a return to growth for the first time in six months. He said that during the recession shoppers turned to "little and often" shopping to control their spending, but this trend is now showing signs of reversing. 

The latest figures show that consumers making slightly fewer shopping trips but are buying more groceries each time. 

"This means bigger baskets and an increase overall of the volume of goods purchased, which has provided an €18m boost in grocery sales in this 12 week period," Mr Berry said.

Grocery inflation stood at 2.5% for the 12 weeks to the end of 27, up from 1.9% in the previous 12 week period.