Grocery market sales declined by 5.7% on an annual basis during the 12 weeks to June 13, new figures show today.

The Kantar figures show that sales were down 7% in the most recent four weeks as warmer weather and outdoor hospitality returned and the market continued to annualise against the "extraordinary" supermarket spending of the first lockdown.

With the return of outdoor hospitality earlier this month, sales of home cooking ingredients declined by 14.9% in the latest 12 week period, Kantar said.

Shoppers spent €94.4m less on alcohol in the supermarkets as they made the most of the chance to eat and drink away from home once again, it added. But sales of take-home alcohol are still 36.4% higher than before the pandemic.

Kantar also said today that sales of home cooking ingredients like oils, herbs and spices and ready-made sauces also declined by 14.9% as consumer were once again able to eat out.

The reopening of hospitality coincided with a spell of warmer weather after an unseasonably cold May with Irish shoppers stocking up on summer essentials.

Sales of sun care products soared by 58% compared with the previous month, and shoppers splashed out €948,000 more on ice cream and €566,000 more on burgers and grilling food than in May.

Emer Healy, retail analyst at Kantar, also said that confidence is gradually returning in Ireland as the vaccine rollout continues.

"Warmer temperatures and vaccine numbers mean many of us are feeling happier to pop to the shops and make more frequent, smaller trips - visits were up 1.7% this month and basket sizes shrank by 8.1%," Ms Healy said.

But she also noted that the tide may have turned on one of the biggest trends of the past year as online sales declined by 4.4% in the past four weeks - the first drop since March last year.

Retired households are driving this trend and spent €2.4m less online than last year - a clear indicator of rising confidence, she added.

Retired households are driving this trend and spent €2.4m less online than last year - a clear indicator of rising confidence, she added.

Today's figures also show that SuperValu remained the largest grocer during the past 12 weeks with a 22.3% share of the grocery market.

According to Kantar, SuperValu benefited from shoppers visiting stores more often than this time last year, adding an extra €75.4m to its takings.

Tesco maintained its second position in the table with a market share of 21.4%. Its performance was boosted by new shoppers, which contributed an additional €29.2m to its overall performance.

Dunnes, which accounted for 21.2% of grocery sales this period, also saw new shoppers during the latest 12 weeks period under review and encouraged existing customers to return to store an additional 1,800,000 times.

Both Aldi and Lidl benefited from the return to stores and slight shift away from online shopping this period.

Lidl held 12.9% of the Irish grocery market, 0.7 percentage points higher than last year, and Aldi's market share was 12.3% during the 12 weeks.