A change in the Irish lifestyle helped sales at Musgrave’s Centra franchise chain break the E1bn barrier for the first time last year.
Reporting sales of E1.035bn, a 14% increase, Centra managing director Donal Horgan told a group national conference in Killarney this week that there had been a surge in convenience shopping
across the Irish market.
“The lifestyle shift, with both partners in half of all households now working outside the home, continues to create demand for convenient, easily accessible stores, with ready meal solutions and food to go,” he said.
“The once-a-week household shop is being replaced by multiple visits to convenience stores. The food-to-go market now accounts for a significant proportion of food sales.”
Despite the defection last year of some franchisees to rival networks - most notably the Griffin group, which operated six Centra stores in Dublin - the chain continues to expand. Forty new outlets are due to open this year, creating 900 jobs and bringing the Centra store total to more than 400.
The strength of the Irish convenience sector can be gauged by the fact that its two biggest players, Centra and Spar, now have annual sales of more than E1bn each. Spar, owned by the BWG Group, last month announced sales of more than E1.1bn, together with plans for a E90m investment programme that will add another 40 stores to its current total of 415.
Last year, the Killarney conference was told, Centra franchisees invested E70m in new stores and refurbishment of existing ones, creating more than 500 jobs. The chain now employs 11,000 people.
Initiatives promised for this year include an expansion of food-to-go, with the introduction of touch-screen ordering, and new formats and merchandising for Centra off-licences.
US retail giant Wal-Mart’s fourth-quarter net profit to January 31 rose 13.4% to $3.6bn on net sales up 8.6% to $89.3bn. Like-for-like sales at its US stores rose 3.1% for the quarter. International net sales increased 9.6% to $18.4bn.

Dutch brewing giant Heineken’s full-year pre-tax profit fell 6.3% to E1.283bn on sales up 7.3% to E10.796bn. Heineken blamed the fall in profit on increased marketing costs and the weakness of the dollar against the euro.
Danish brewing giant Carlsberg’s full-year operating profit to December 31 increased to DKK3,518m (£322m), compared with profit of DKK3,401m the year before, on net sales that rose 5% to DKK38bn.

Campbell Soup Company’s net profit for the second quarter to January 29 increased from $235m to $254m on sales up 3% to $2,281m. The group also reported half-year net profit up from $465m to $556m on net sales up 2% to $4,391m.

Scottish & Newcastle has started talks with workers over the proposed restructuring of its French brewing business, Brasseries Kronenbourg. S&N is mooting the sale of Champigneulles brewery located near Nancy, France, and focusing on premium brands and operations at its Obernai brewery, which is located near Strasbourg.

The Dial Corporation, owned by German consumer products group Henkel, has acquired the deodorant brands Right Guard, Soft & Dri and Dry Idea from Procter & Gamble for about $420m. The acquisition is subject to
Anthony Garvey
n Wal-mart up
n Profit down
n Danish rise
n soup success
n S&N Talks
n brand buy