First Irish discounter shocks market
Barry Group trials the first Irish discounter, Buy Lo, offering consumers Ireland’s answer to Sam’s Club and Costco that’s open to one and all
16 July 2009
Buy Lo, an Irish-owned discount warehouse, has staged a soft opening in Newbridge, Co Kildare. The retail warehouse is reported to be part of a trial opening at four locations set to gauge consumer reaction to the concept. Although no formal announcement has been made by any of the companies involved, the warehouse is attracting significant interest from the trade.
The Irish discounter is being operated by Barry’s of Mallow. The company refused to comment on the opening but sources close to Barry’s said that the launch was the first in a series that would be operated on a franchise basis once the concept was proven with the consumer. Speaking to customers who had shopped at the new Buy Lo, Shelflife learned that the fruit, veg and meat prices were being favorably received, while cleaning products, soft drinks, biscuits, confectionary and pet-foods also featured strongly in the shopping trolleys.
The first outlet, which is 14,000 sq ft and carries under 1,000 lines, is located in the Tougher Industrial estate, just behind the Tougher Express forecourt on the Newbridge Road.
The offering at the warehouse retail unit includes fruit, vegetables and meat products at Aldi and Lidl prices, and a wide range of branded products at deeply discounted prices. In terms of appearance and layout the operation is similar to a smaller cash and carry, the main difference being that single pack purchases are encouraged and the prices are printed large and very clearly displayed to the consumer.
Although at very early trial stages the concept appears to mirror the Sam’s Club offering from Wal-Mart, and may have similarities to the Costco model also. Of particular note is the strong presence of recognized brands. While Aldi, Lidl and more recently Tesco, have been trying to replace traditionally strong brands with less expensive look-alikes, Buy Lo is floor to ceiling with the brands that have strong recognition with consumers.
The significance to the trade in Ireland is not being underestimated. One supplier in the confectionary and impulse category told Shelflife that it had been watching the operation since it had opened.
The sentiment was positive with a view that any new Irish-based channel to the consumer would be good for business.