Musgrave Group HQ

Musgrave Group, which is still awaiting a decision from the UK Competition and Markets Authority on the sale of its GB business to Booker Group, has slashed losses incurred in 2013 by €100m (£71m) and signalled a return to profit in the current year.

Ireland’s leading food retailer posted post-tax losses of €13m after €70m exceptionals and €11m property profits in the year to 27 December, compared with €113m losses the previous year on sales down €200m to €4.6bn.

The SuperValu brand recorded retail sales in line with last year of €2.6bn. Its integration with Superquinn gave it the platform to become Ireland’s largest grocery retailer, securing 25% share of the grocery retail market, Musgrave reported.

Centra consolidated is position as the leading convenience retailer with growth of 3%, benefiting from brand development work and investments made throughout the economic downturn.

Investment in an own-brand range of 1,300 Irish-sourced products underpinned sales growth at Centra as well as the launch of an all-day fresh food range and “great-value” offers.

Sales at foodservice industry supplier MarketPlace grew 8% following a focus on brand development work and investment in its offer to foodservice customers and non-affiliated retailers.

Musgrave said it reorganised its business in Northern Ireland, bringing together its retail and wholesale operations. It was beginning to see the benefits of the new structure with Centra, MarketPlace and SuperValu performing to plan.

In Spain, its brand work, investment and the development of concept stores was laying the foundations for improved performance in a recovering Spanish economy, Musgrave said.

“In 2014, the investments we have made in our brand development strategy delivered, with SuperValu becoming Ireland’s number one grocery retailer, Centra cementing its position as the country’s leading convenience brand and MarketPlace growing ahead of the market,” said chief executive Chris Martin.

“With the transformation well progressed and given the strong position of our brands, the business is now on track to return to profit in 2015.”