SuperValu remains the country's biggest grocery retailer, the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel shows.

SuperValu had a market share of 24.7% in the 12 weeks to December 6, followed by Tesco with a market share of  24.1% and Dunnes at 23.8%.

Kantar Worldpanel noted that SuperValu had a strong performance in its usual areas - fruit and vegetables - while it also saw "excellent" sales in confectionary, crisps, snacks and soft drinks during the last quarter.

While sales at Tesco dipped in the last quarter, the supermarket chain saw growth in the number of items being picked up on each trip. 

Dunnes' sales continued the sales growth it has seen all year as it manages to encourage shoppers to spend more on each trip to the store, Kantor Worldpanel noted.

Meanwhile, the discounters - Lidl and Aldi - continued to see growth in their sales and market share.

Lidl saw its market share rise to 8.5% with Dublin an especially strong region for the retailer. Aldi's market share remained at 8.4% in the 12 week period.

Dave Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said that the strong growth in the 12 weeks to the start of December is an early indicator that the country's supermarkets could be in for a bumper Christmas. 

"We are sure to see grocers competing eagerly for the biggest slice of festive sales," he added.