Apologies, it’s the “R” word again

Caroline Byrne, editor
Caroline Byrne, editor

At this stage it’s become the most worn out expression in the history of human language



8 December 2008

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I know at this stage it’s become the most worn out expression in the history of human language but we felt it was well placed in this particular issue – well, in that particular pun, at least. The c-stores will be tried and tested in this climate but I personally believe there are many out there that will see it through (the way they did the last time). Besides, where would the country be without journalists to write incessantly about the dreadful state of everything?
At €8 billion down, Revenue shortfall is far worse than we thought, consumer spending is down, food price inflation is down, but the wholesale price index is up, and two thirds of us are fat! Maybe that’s the good news; we might sink the island into the sea and just be rid of us at last!

Thankfully, people with real jobs have been working more productively over the last month, creating lots of good news for us to report in ShelfLife. Our German friend, Aldi has announced plans to expand by another 35 stores over the next while, and to stock them with 40% Irish goods. Bord Bia was good enough to confirm that it has in fact been working very closely with the discounter to help fill out its Irish ranges, so good news for suppliers in this country as well as perspective employees.
Speaking of boosting employment, Dunnes Stores has just opened two new stores this month, in Drogheda and County Dublin, bringing its employment total for the year to 500. A welcome development for all the retailer’s new employees who, at the time of going to press, were still employees of Dunnes Stores and not Asda or any other rumoured would-be buyer!
Also not yet in the hands of a foreign retail chain, Superquinn has launched a new €1 million advertising campaign, showing that it really means business in the Irish grocery sector and it’s not going anywhere. Pity Simon Burke chose to highlight the event by telling the papers he’d be “gobsmacked” if there weren’t significant job cuts after Christmas. Oops! What were the chances of that being taken up the wrong way?

The bold and the beautiful

Morton’s has opened its stunning new delicatessen and convenience store in the old Harcourt Street railway station, on Hatch Street Dublin 2. If anything, the site is worth a look just for the beauty of it (see page 28) but the food’s not half bad either. This is only the second new store opened by the well-known retailer, and the first outside Ranelagh where the original supermarket has stood for 78 years.

BWG’s new super facility on the North Road makes a bold statement in its own way too. Maybe not quite so pretty to look at but as systems go this is fine-tuned and state-of-the-art, combining warehousing, wholesaling and foodservice in one seamless 24 hour operation. See more on page 30.

In our special report from LK Shields this month (page 24), Áine Matthews talks about just how bold product imitators can be, and how much they can get away with if brand-owners don’t protect themselves. And on page 36, MOP advises retailers how not to be bold this Christmas, with a run through of all matters legal for the festive trading period.
Finally, for a little of something bold and/or beautiful for the festivities this year, read Helen Coburn’s suggestions (page 42) for all the Christmas cheers you could need.

Next month we will announce the winners of our annual C-Store Awards. As always, the standards were very high and the (independent) judging very close, but as of writing, I don’t even know who the winners are. We must offer our sincere congratulations to all who entered and received a visit from out mystery judge; it’s very reassuring to see Irish c-stores are still the best around.



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