Tag Archives | Lidl

This Weeks Grocery Special Offers across Ireland

Every week you can access this weeks grocery special offers across Ireland from all of the main grocery chains from this single handy web page. On a weekly basis, sometimes monthly, all the Irish supermarket chains publish their special offers on their websites in various different formats.

You can use this webpage to click on any of the icons below to bring you directly to the this weeks grocery special offers across Ireland from the main supermarket chains.

This Weeks Grocery Special Offers across Ireland

These links are as up to date as I can make them. The supermarket chains, however, don’t make it easy to keep this listing up to date – they regularly change the links to their special offers pages for no apparent reason other than to make it hard to keep this webpage up to date.

If you notice any broken links, or have any suggestions on any other pages that should be added here, please let me know here.

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Dunnes Stores is the most popular link from the Grocery Special Offers page

I was looValueIreland Grocery Special Offers Pageking at the website stats for this site on the excellent StatCounter website recently, and particularly the listing of the most popular links that visitors follow to go to other sites. It’s no surprise that most of the links that people use are from the ValueIreland Grocery Special Offers page.

What was surprising though, was the fact that the Dunnes Stores link was three times more popular than either of the next stores on the list – Tesco and Lidl. In fact, the numbers selecting the Dunnes Stores link outnumbered those selecting Tesco, Lidl and Aldi put together.

This differs from the market breakdown for the supermarkets in Ireland where as of the end of September, Tesco was still the most popular, marginally ahead of the SuperValu / SuperQuinn combo which didn’t make the top 5 exit links.

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Who really is the cheapest supermarket? Don’t expect the NCA to tell you!

Splashed across the Aldi website at the moment is the headline “Ireland’s Best Value Discounter”, while available on many of the Lidl special offer pages is a banner that advertises that discounter as “Ireland’s Cheapest Supermarket”.

And both are basing their claims on the July 2009 National Consumer Agency grocery survey.

One could initially say that this further highlights the uselessness of the NCA grocery surveys in that both chains are able to make broadly similar claims (on the face of it) based on the outcome of the same survey.

It also highlights how ridiculous the NCA were to not include these chains in their grocery surveys from the very beginning – it wasn’t until ValueIreland.com carried out the NCA survey in both Aldi and Lidl that both stores were included back in 2008/2007.

But who is cheapest?

Well, the title of “Ireland’s Best Value Discounter” does actually go to Aldi, when comparing Aldi and Lidl only, and only when comparing “own brand results” rather than “branded results”.
But that’s when comparing a basket of 52 items “own brand” items purchased in both stores – all other stores (Tesco, Dunnes, Superquinn etc) are not part of this particular survey (table 2).

The title claimed by Lidl as “Ireland’s Cheapest Supermarket” is sort of incorrect as it only refers to that the part of the survey where “own brand” items are purchased rather than any “branded”. It should really read “Ireland’s Cheapest Supermarket for Own Brand Items”

Technically, it should really read, “Ireland’s Cheapest Supermarket for Own Brand Items in a basked of 19 items, rather than 52”.

With me still?

If you buy 20 listed “own brand” items in Lidl, they are cheaper than all other stores. However, if you buy a basket of 52 “own brand” items in Aldi, they’re cheaper than all other stores – including Lidl.

So that probably means that the “Ireland’s Best Value Discounter” claim made by Aldi is also incorrect – since if you bought 20 items instead of 52, then Lidl would be cheaper.

Confused – you should be, and that’s exactly what supermarkets want – confused consumers. This is why the National Consumer Agency also had to give up on their plans for their “grocery price comparison” website (which I’ll be coming back to soon).

Its unfortunate then that in a grocery market where the chains depend on consumer confusion, the organisation that is supposed to help consumers by reducing that confusion are only serving to increase it with their useless grocery surveys.

Edit 22/03 – Since I originally drafted this article, Conor Popes Pricewatch column in The Irish Times has touched on this topic, Lack of price information costing consumers a packet. In his article, he refers to the NCA grocery price surveys, and the fact that it seems like we thankfully won’t see any more of them:

Speaking at a recent media briefing to promote the amalgamation of the Financial Regulator’s information and education functions within the NCA, the agency’s chief executive Ann Fitzgerald confirmed that the general surveys had been knocked on the head. She expressed disappointment that they were being abandoned but said that obstacles being put in the way of the agency by retailers had made them next to impossible to carry out.

Edit 23/03 – Following on from the Pricewatch article above, CheapEats.ie have followed up also with their article, Pricewatch: The cheapest supermarket?.

Check out their discussion in answer to the question – In the absence of in-depth price comparisons, which supermarkets do you find the cheapest?

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Consumers Association Chief Executive advocates buying British, not Irish

I had to read this recent story in the Evening Herald, Lidl bargain sets Irish stores meaty challenge, a few times before I could finally grasp what was going on.

First of all, I couldn’t understand how the Consumers Association of Ireland would be so desperate for newspaper coverage (measured monthly as a KPI for the organisation) that they’d be quoted welcoming the introduction of a new bargain price “roast dinner selection” to Lidl outlets throughout the country.

Then we discover that the welcomed new bargain meal is actually a product of the United Kingdom, and Mr. Jewell expects there to be queues of shoppers down the street waiting to buy a roast dinner for €1.99.

I can’t imagine the CAI deputy chairman, Michael Kilcoyne, would have been be too happy to hear about Mr. Jewells comments, particularly as only that week he had to deal with 140 of his union members in Galway losing their jobs at the Irish wholesaler Musgraves, suppliers to many competitors of Lidl.

I suppose it’s the perennial problem for Irish consumers. Do you buy Irish, frequently at a higher price, with the aim of supporting Irish businesses and industry, or do you follow the price and buy the cheapest products possible?

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We Irish are suckers for brands and labels, and it’s costing us dear

Paul Cullen wrote this story back in September, Stepping out in the €27.99 suit, when it was one of their websites top stories early in the morning. It even made the rounds of Twitter for a while as well.

The cheap Lidl suit story has been around for a while – I think it first came out back in October 2008.

What struck me more about this story was the reference to the Canali jacket being sold by Louis Copeland for 38 times the cost of the Lidl suit. That’s a jacket – not a full suit – for over €1,000.

Fair enough the jacket is made of wool and not polyester, and that it has a “breastpiece made from the hair of a female horse’s tail” (top of my shopping list when I look for a jacket, I have to admit!), and that “some” of the sewing is hand done,. My question is though, is there really any justification for spending that amount on an item of clothes – do those differences really amount to an extra €970 worth of jacket?

Or is the extra €970 really just for the people with loads of cash who listen to bull from Louis Copeland when he flatters them about how the jacket fits, and gives them the line that it’s the personal favourite jacket of Barak Obama – all from the article. How much of the extra €970 is really just paying for the most important piece of material on the jacket – no, not the horses ass hair – the Canali label?

Having grown up in the clothing industry, I can tell you numerous stories about how much a label is worth to the price of an item.

Best example I can remember in the recent past about the cache of a label was when Old Navy opened (briefly) in Arnotts in Dublin. In the grand scheme of things in the US, Old Navy is below Gap which in turn is below Banana Republic when it comes to both cost and cache.

Yet if you really study their clothes, while the styles and colours may be slightly different, they are effectively all the same items, but just with different labels on them.

Yet when Old Navy came to Ireland, it was perversely more expensive than the Gap outlet just beside it in Arnotts. Anyone familiar with shopping in the US was laughing out loud at the fact that Irish shoppers were buying Old Navy items that were more expensive than Gap, but however the perception was created in the minds of shoppers, it happened.

In the early 1990’s, you could have manufactured a garment for, say, €27. If you put your own Irish branded label on the item and sold it to an Irish retailer, it would sell for maybe €62 to the general public.

Say you made the same item for a big name international designer – exactly the same item. Firstly, just because they were the big name international designer, they’d say that they couldn’t possibly buy the item from you for €27. They’d give you €19 – and because you were making in bulk for a bigger order, and were keen for the business in the hope of repeat orders, you took the money.

Now, your €19 item gets the fancy label from the big name international designer added to it, and then gets sold by a chain of international chain stores or their own designer stores only in New York, London, Paris and Milan. Suddenly you see the €19 item being sold for €229.

People – it’s the same item. Made by the same people. Using the same materials. But with a different label on it. But being sold for nearly 4 times the price. And it sells more than the Irish retailer sells at €62.

Another great example was something I noticed in Tesco when I lived in London. There, if an ordinary grocery item became popular, they’d very soon put a “Tesco Finest” label on it and charge more – for exactly the same product inside.

Obviously, people can spend their money on whatever they want. And perceptions are hugely important when it comes to how money is spent – and labels feed into those perceptions enormously.

But think about it! We Irish are famous for our love of branded, labelled items. But how much extra money are we spending unnecessarily in order to fund that love.

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Grocery special offer web pages – hopefully grocers will do better

You’ll probably have seen on many consumer related websites recently the growing listing of the special offers web pages that are updated every week or month.

For the record, here are the special offer links for all the Irish based grocery chains that I can find at the moment. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.These web pages are obviously pretty useful. For me personally, I find the Eurospar and Centra special offers pretty useful as I get some of my regular shopping items from those chains in bulk depending on the offers they have at certain times.

Could Do Better

But I really think that these grocery chains could actually do a little better with their grocery special offers web pages.

The main issue I have with their web pages is that for some of them, the links could change from week to week. This means that the respective websites need to be checked each week to see where the special offers are, and subsequently any links provided one week on a website like done above could be out of date and become a broken link the next week when the link changes.

Certain other pages provide non-standard presentations of the special offers such as Flash images or PDF files. These have the problem that not all web users (and particularly those doing the shopping and potentially visiting these pages) will have the software necessary on their machines to see the actual offers.

Yet another issue is where a couple of the offers pages open up in new windows. These pop up windows aren’t ideal in getting the message across to the widest possible audience as they could be blocked by some peoples internet settings.

RSS Offers Are the Future

Finally, I think these grocers are missing a trick by only publishing static web pages with their weekly or monthly special offers.

I reckon they’d get a much larger audience if they provided their grocery special offers via an RSS feed.

This would directly benefit any consumers who want to subscribe to these special offers where the update each week or month would be pushed out rather than depending on people visiting the website each week. Even coming back each week to check out the special offers might not be so straight forward if the consumers can’t bookmark the special offers pages if their web address changes each time.

I also think that if these grocery chains were to provide their grocery special offers via an RSS feed, it would given them greater flexibility in how to broadcast their message (via anywhere such as Twitter, Facebook, and so on that can publish such a feed).

It would also make it easier for publishers of consumer websites such as this one to promote the special offers to our readers on a weekly or monthly basis and to ensure the information is as up to date and as accurate as possible all the time.

Will the Grocers follow Up?

With all this in mind, last night I contacted most of the above grocery chains providing this feedback and the RSS publication suggestion. Hopefully they’ll all follow up.

I’ll let you know how things progress.

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Positive steps towards a national grocery price comparison website?

According to this article in this mornings Irish Times, the National Consumer Agency are in the process of trying to put together “a grocery database containing real-time price information which consumers could use to make accurate comparisons on the cost of a basket of goods”.

According to Conor Pope, the NCA have contacted Tesco, Spar, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn, Supervalu, Aldi and Lidl with a view to getting access to their prices on a more realtime basis rather than the current 6 monthly grocery price survey. The article mentions that Tesco are apparently in favour of such an independent grocery price comparison site.

I referred last week to the issues in Australia with their plans for a grocery price comparison site. At the moment, it seems that a “social media” campaign is being started to get consumers to submit prices of grocery items in order to build up an independent database of prices.

Such a campaign is, unfortunately (in my opinion), doomed to failure as the quality of the data is dependent on consumers submitting the pricing information – we can see this difficulty with the petrol price comparison sites in Ireland (despite the excellent work of Pumps.ie). Sometimes, there’ll be good information, but at other times, information will be incomplete, out of date, or not available in a particular area. This will only be compounded hundreds if not thousands of times across the many many grocery items available across all the Irish grocery retailers.

The government sponsored Australian price comparison site was pulled, allegedly, because of a reluctance on the part of the Australian grocers to make their pricing inforamtion available for comparison purposes.

It’ll be interesting to see how successful the National Consumer Agency are in getting pricing information from all of the Irish grocery chains.

However, this plan from the NCA is the only way to go when it comes to a grocery price comparison site. From a technical perspective, a grocery price comparison site is quite simple to set up and maintain – provided it gets a consistent and accurate daily feed of prices from the respective grocery chains.

And it’s not like they don’t have the necessary information easily to hand – a simple extract of their grocery products stocked and the price charged could in theory be achieved in minutes every morning.

There are a couple of potential sticking points though. One mentioned in the article is how to compare across “own brand” items – a growing part of all grocery retailers stock portfolio these days.

Other potential issues would be:

  • How would one determine what stores should be taking part in the website comparison – do you include only multiples and thereby give them de-facto free advertising at the expense of independent grocery stores?
  • How do you manage price differences across the country – we’re told Dublin is 4.4% more expensive than Dublin. Do you therefore need a set of “Dublin prices” and a “country price” as well – doubling up on the data requirements for the project?
  • What about Northern Ireland stores? These grocery chains have growing chunk of the Irish grocery market, so to get a valid comparison, they would also need to be included.
  • What value would there be in the price comparison site if, for example, Dunnes Stores decided not to allow their pricing data be used? The exclusion of such a big player in the market would negate the value of the project as a whole.
  • The ComReg CallCosts.ie website is referred to in the article as an example of a similar popular service. While CallCosts.ie provides a certain amount of useful information, it is open to manipulation by the telecoms companies who always want their offerings showing at the top of any listing. This will need to be avoided for any grocery comparison site.
  • Also, with regards to CallCosts.ie, it hasn’t developed with the market which has moved on since it was originally set up – it doesn’t provide a mobile broadband comparison yet. Any grocery price comparison site will need to be developed in such a way that it can quickly adapt to grocery market changes.

For what has to be the first time ever, I’m positive about something being done by the National Consumer Agency. If this is properly investigated, analysed and planned, a grocery price comparison website could be an excellent addition for Irish consumers.

And just think – once all the information is stored centrally, who know’s where this could end? Online shopping lists? I-Phone or mobile phone applications? Links with cooking and recipe websites to automatically create your shopping list?

Think Amazon.com, but for grocery shopping.

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The Internet Can Save you Bundles

Irish News of the World

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

The Internet Can Save you Bundles

The past 6 months have seen some amazing online developments that are helping consumers save money on all sorts of purchases.

One of the best for online bargains, apart from www.ValueIreland.com obviously, is the Boards.ie Bargain Alerts forum where users log on daily to share information of where the best bargains can be found around the internet. There’s a huge range of bargains available on the site each week.

Before doing your weekly food shopping, you should make sure you check out the websites of the grocery retailers who all provide weekly updates on their special offers. Some, including Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes Stores, will even e-mail you weekly with their offers.

One of my favourite sites at the moment is CheapEats.ie. It’s relatively new, but it already has some fantastic information on how to get great food in these tough times. The site provides updates on special restaurant and shops food offers available around the country.

The site also has some great money saving top tips on how to cook for yourself.

The ValueIreland.com links page has more sites that will help you save even more money using the web.

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Going cold turkey on sterling to euro exchange rate stores

This e-mail came in to ValueIreland.com last week and gave us a little chuckle:

I just want to let you know, I am 40 days clean of visiting any UK Retailer who is robbing us on the Sterling exchange and it feels very good indeed. For food I have discovered the wonders of Aldi and Lidl, Dunnes and Superquinn, fresh vegetables and excellent quality fruit. No prepared meals from Marks, not when they are double the price they charge in UK, so happy days.  Maybe they did me a favour anyway!!

The thing to remember though, is that even some Irish companies, as we’ve shown you recently, are guilty of using extravagant sterling to euro exchange rates that basically makes them bigger profits.

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Silly Surveys Skirt Real Issues

Irish News of the World

February 15th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Silly Surveys Skirt Real Issues

I see the National Consumer Agency are still carrying out farcical surveys. This month they told us about price differences between the big supermarkets and completed missed the real story – that everyone’s still RAISING prices.

From December 2007, until last month, Tesco, Dunnes Stores and SuperQuinn all jacked up their prices – Tesco by 4.9%, Dunnes by 3.5%, SuperQuinn by 2.8%.

At a time when demand and prices are generally falling in Ireland, our supermarkets are INCREASING their prices by nearly 5%.

All consumers really care about is the fact that grocery prices are going up everywhere – not the relative differences between each.

The truth is, a couple of grocery price sureys by the NCA every year aren’t having any impact on that rising trend. Get your act together.

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