While Musgrave is focusing on its proposed acquisition of Londis in the UK, the group has suffered a significant defection on its home patch.
Retailer John Rushe, who owns two SuperValu stores and a Centra outlet in Dublin, and another SuperValu in Naas, County Kildare, is leaving the Musgrave network to join BWG’s rival Spar grouping.
He is one of the largest symbol operators to switch sides in recent years and the move is seen as a coup for BWG, which recently announced that 35 new Spar stores would be added to the group in the Republic this year, and that it aimed to open 500 by 2006.
The three SuperValu stores have a combined turnover of E20m a year. They will now be rebranded as EuroSpar - a larger version of the traditional symbol outlet - with the Centra store becoming a Spar.