Burke warns of retail job losses
9 December 2008
Superquinn chief executive Simon Burke has said he would be “gobsmacked” if the retail sector did not see substantial job losses after Christmas. In an Irish Times report, Burke said that sales figures in the past week (the last in November) were the worst for more than a decade. What’s more, he added that the sector was expecting a bad Christmas and a “worse” New Year.
"The business environment for retail is pretty appalling and getting worse, and this has to have a significant impact on jobs," he said.
However, the supermarket was keen to clarify that the comments subsequently reported by several radio stations, did not refer to Superquinn, but the retail sector generally.
The trade union Mandate reported that a “clarifying statement” to this effect was sent out on the day the comments were first published.
Assistant general secretary of Mandate, Gerry Light, told ShelfLife, “Superquinn moved very quickly to clarify the situation.”
The comments picked up by local radio stations appeared to “have been taken out of out of context” and were “not to be specifically interpreted” as referring to Superquinn. Light added, it was “not without coincidence” that the comments coincided with the launch of Superquinn’s “Cheaper than Newry” promotional campaign. A bid to secure “a little bit of publicity” appeared to have “backfired.”
A Superquinn spokesperson confirmed Burke’s comments were not specific to the group itself and so there were no figures for job losses.
The Superquinn boss also confirmed meanwhile that the company had been approached by a number of parties who had an interest in buying it, but that this had "come to nothing". "This goes on all the time. It doesn’t mean the company is going to be sold."
"We’re not talking to anyone about anything," Burke added.