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Top stories in the papers this week 3 – 11 April 2012

Musgrave workers vote for industrial action; Tesco urged to quit US operation; M&S staff to get pay rise of €700 a year; Medicines price war escalates

Apr 10 2012

1. Musgrave workers vote for industrial action

Musgrave employees in Cork have voted for industrial action after rejecting a Labour Court recommendation on restructuring measures within the company. The Irish Examiner reports that according to union sources, workers were unhappy with the company’s insistence on implementing new voice technology in the group’s Cork Chill warehouse and alleged new rostering arrangements.

2. Tesco urged to quit US operation

Tesco’s third biggest shareholder has said quitting its loss-making American operation Fresh & Easy would help it get its UK operation back on track. The Evening Echo reports Richard Black at Legal & General Investment Management also suggested Tesco ditches banking in order to concentrate on the core UK grocery business. His comments were made just days before chief executive Phil Clarke unveils his blueprint for reviving the chain. 

3. M&S staff to get pay rise of €700 a year

Over 3,000 Marks & Spencer staff are set to get a pay rise worth €700 a year each despite a year-long sales slump. The Irish Independent reports a 2.5% wage increase for the entire workforce has been announced, after the Mandate union struck a deal with management. Mandate argued for the pay increase – the first it has won for retail staff since 2009 - to keep track with rising living costs and to reward staff for co-operating with new technology.

4. Medicines price war escalates as chemists battle with retail giant

A price war has broken out among local pharmacies sparked by competition from Tesco. According to the Irish Independent, intense competition in towns where Tesco recently opened in-store pharmacies has led to dramatic price reductions for prescription medicines in those areas. The paper reports this raises the prospect that customers elsewhere could benefit if Tesco proceeds with plans to roll out up to 15 such outlets nationwide. 

5. Retailers warn of food trade jobs losses 

Food supply-chain jobs will be lost due to supermarket chains acting to bypass the wholesale sector, REI chief executive David Fitzsimons has warned. His comments made in the Irish Examiner, follow a €25m investment by retail group Morrisons in an abattoir in Lancashire. According to Fitzsimons a small number of retailers dominating supply channels “will impact negatively on the consumer’s choice” and “cause job losses." 

6. Convenience stores to accept contactless payments

BWG Foods is partnering with Visa Europe to begin accepting contactless card payments. The company aims to introduce the majority of its 900 stores to the contactless payment system across Ireland by the end of 2012. The Irish Times reports the new method allows customers who shop in Spar, Eurospar, Mace and XL stores to quickly pay for items costing up to €15 with contactless cards; offering reduced queues and increased customer satisfaction. 

Also:

Tesco ‘must invest up to €1.2bn’ to turn around British business (Irish Examiner)

 Expansion is possible despite recession -- Tesco boss

Food firms get tips on how to earn Tesco retail listing (Irish Examiner) 

Tesco Express beats local bidder (Guardian, UK) 

Cereal prices putting pig farmers under pressure (Irish Examiner) 

Tesco rebrands Value range (Guardian, UK) 

Sainsbury's 'feed your family for £50' ads banned (Guardian, UK) 

Cork cuts retail vacancies (Irish Independent) 

Convenience itself... Londis store in Dundalk for €775k (Irish Independent) 

An Post ‘bullying’ shops with new stamp rules (Irish Examiner) 

Motorists urged to beware cheap fuel (Irish Examiner) 

Retail administrations up by 15% in first quarter of 2012 (Accountancy Age) 

Cigarette and tobacco displays banned in supermarkets (Guardian, UK) 

Easter egg prices up, chocolate prices down (Guardian, UK)

 

 

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