Northern Irish independent supermarket operator Curley’s will have to wait until 2007 before it can go head to head with Asda from its new Belfast store.
Curley’s, which is ranked 17th in The Grocer’s Top 50 list of independent retailers, was hoping to begin work on its new 50,000 sq ft store at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast this summer.
However, its plans were stalled as it waited for approval from the Northern Ireland Road Service, which requested the addition to the plans of traffic lights and crossings near the site. Work is now scheduled to start at the beginning of 2006 and is expected to take 18 months to complete.
The delay could leave it vulnerable to attack from Asda. Curley’s currently operates a 25,000 sq ft store at the west Belfast site, next door to one of the 12 Safeway stores bought by Asda from Morrisons in June.
No dates have yet been finalised as to when Asda will begin trading the store under its own name, although it will begin the roll-out of the Asda fascia in the province in October.
Some 1,000 UK newsagents and c-stores are thinking of closing their businesses because of crime, according to a survey of 19,000 National Federation of Retail Newsagents members. And almost half despaired of reporting crime to the police because they felt it would achieve nothing.

Morrisons and retail union Usdaw have joined forces to find jobs for the staff at Asda’s own-label pie supplier, Hilliers of Plymouth, which was devastated by fire last month. So far, 14 people have been taken on at the nearby store and there are more openings with Plymouth & South West Devon Co-operative, Language Farm Dairy Products and British Bakeries. Asda is facing supply problems after the fire.

Robert Wiseman Dairies has acquired Scottish Milk Dairies, a subsidiary of First Milk, for £0.9m. Subject to an assessment of milk volumes, the acquisition is expected to be completed early next month. The dairy and depot in Hamilton, near Glasgow, currently supplies 2% of fresh milk in Scotland.

Brewer Scottish & Newcastle has reported an 8.7% increase in half-year pre-tax profits to £163m. In half-year results for the six months to June 30, S&N said market share growth in the UK had driven operating profit up 11%. However, the group said difficult conditions in Western Europe had contributed to a 10% fall in international operating profit.

Soft drinks company Macaw has been acquired by rival Canadian firm Cott Corporation for $135m. The deal includes Macaw’s six production lines and its two manufacturing plants in Nelson, Lancashire.
Crime hits c-stores
Job help after fire
DAIRY acquisition
Brewer’s profits up
Cott gets Macaw