Tara Buckley, director general of RGDATA, the independent grocers’ body, said it was “disturbing that in its bid for total domination of grocery retailing in Europe, Tesco is targeting Irish market towns”.
She said that the plan, aimed at growing Tesco’s 25% share of Irish grocery and outlined in The Sunday Times, was “a wake-up call” for Micheál Martin, minister for enterprise, trade and employment, when deciding the future of the groceries order which bans below-cost selling.
The order, she added, had been introduced “to curb the enormous power of the biggest players in the market, and was needed even more today”.
Prominent government backbencher Donie Cassidy, who chaired an all-party committee that recommended the order’s retention, also expressed concern about the power of the multiples.
If the below-cost ban were removed, he said, Tesco and Dunnes could be controlling 80% of the Irish grocery market within three to four years.
Tesco is refusing to confirm or deny the report, which comes as a decision on the groceries order is expected within weeks.
According to The Sunday Times report, Tesco, which has 91 Irish stores, has identified more than 40 locations for expansion, targeting rural towns where it lags behind Dunnes and the Musgrave franchise chains of SuperValu and Centra.
Tesco operates a Dublin hypermarket - the only one in the Republic - has 41 stores with 24-hour opening, and seven petrol stations.
The retail value of food carrying the Red Tractor logo has passed the £5bn mark, Assured Food Standards has revealed. From March to July 2005, the number of assured products displaying the Red Tractor logo increased by 14%. Assured Food Standards said that the largest increase came from the dairy sector, which grew by 17%.
AG Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru, has reported a fall in pre-tax profit in its half-year to July to £8m from £8.2m last year. Sales were flat at £66.3m.
The Reusable Bag Campaign has had a very promising start, says the Waste & Resource Action Programme. Asda, The Co-op, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose are all taking part in the scheme that aims to encourage shoppers to ‘Choose to Reuse’ to reduce plastic carrier bag waste. Waitrose has reported an upsurge in purchases of reusable bags.
Improve, the food and drink sector skills councils, is preparing an employer-backed bid for government funding to establish a National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing.
Chilled vehicle specialist Petit Forestier has linked up with national food charity FareShare to provide the charity with five vehicles.
The Grocer would like to point out that the Food Advertising Unit did receive a response from the PM to an industry letter offering to participate in a public health campaign (The Grocer September 17 p46). However, it has not received any feedback on its ideas for a behavioural change campaign from the government departments it presented to.