The Mace business in the Republic of Ireland has warned that its expansion plans will be in jeopardy if the government abolishes the below-cost selling ban without putting effective alternative measures in place.
Conor Whelan, group chairman, told a conference of franchisees that its retailers would have to curtail their investment if the protection against “predatory pricing by the multiples” was removed.
Ireland’s enterprise and trade minister Micheál Martin is reviewing the future of the order and a government decision is expected next month.
Whelan rejected suggestions existing competition law would provide adequate safeguards for grocery retailers. “I don’t think that would be an effective tool in policing the market,” he said.
The chain hopes to increase its overall number of stores to 300 by 2007, representing an investment of €100m. Fifty of its current 250 outlets are on service station sites owned by Maxol. The chain expects sales to rise 10% this year to €440m.British Food Fortnight starts today (September 24), and is backed by sponsorship from Booths and Budgens. Booths, involved for the first time, will be running an in-store competition asking children to come up with creative ideas for a healthy lunchbox. Budgens, supporting BFF for the second year, will highlight the event in all its stores with discounts and tastings. Londis will also promote BFF through its 2,200 stores.