In the papers this week 18 – 24 Apr 2009

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Dunnes Stores seeks planning permission to redevelop the Crumlin Shopping Centre, footfall declined 4.2% in the first quarter, Tesco Douglas workers vote to strike



24 April 2009

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Retailers and publicans aren’t happy with the tax increases included in Alistair Darling’s new UK budget, according to the Independent (UK). Meanwhile Tobacco manufacturers, which have been hit by a 2% tax increase, said the tax would “undermine the progress made in reducing the level of tobacco smuggling.”

Dunnes Stores has sought planning permission from Dublin City Council to redevelop the Crumlin Shopping Centre. The retailer proposes to expand the centre from 10,000 to 17,000 sq m and also wants to include a half-acre site occupied by the Crumlin Leisure Centre in its retail and mixed-use scheme, states the Sunday Business Post.  

An 8% drop in the number of people visiting shops in March compared to last year illustrates the “stark predicament facing the retail sector.” So says global information provider Experian, which has reported a drop in footfall of 4.2% in the first quarter of this year. However, the SBP reports footfall has increased 7% year on year in the North.

Staff at a Tesco store in Cork have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action in a row regarding terms and conditions. The Examiner outlines how the decision was taken after employees heard they would face redundancy if they did not sign up to new terms upon moving to a new store on the same site in the suburb of Douglas.

Meanwhile The Irish Times covered Tesco Ireland’s news this week that sales revenues increased 5.2% to €3.15 billion for the year to the end of February. However if the impact of 16 new stores opened over the past year is stripped out, like-for-like sales were actually down 4.2% over the period.

In the UK, while Irish profits were not revealed, Tesco’s British parent reported a 10% rise in underlying annual pre-tax profits to £3.13bn, says the Financial Times. Strong growth from Asia supported its more mature British operations, and enabled the group to beat the £3.02bn mean expectation of analysts polled by Reuters. However, Britain’s biggest retailer also said its net debt had increased to £9.6bn.

Tesco Ireland also announced it will be transferring international supplier purchasing to its British parent. Chief executive Tony Keohane said in The Irish Times that the switch was a response to weak consumer demand and a rise in cross-border shopping. However the IFA wants the European Commission to regulate the retail sector before it “destroys” Irish farming.

Also in The Irish Times this week, officers have raided 18 premises along the border as part of a joint Garda-PSNI investigation into diesel smuggling. ‘Operation Jutty’ saw searches take place in offices and private residences, in order to gather evidence and identify and seize assets held by suspected fuel smugglers. Some €20,000 in cash, documentation, three vehicles, over 175,000 litres of fuel, and four mobile laundering facilities were seized.

“Rollies” sales have lit up as a result of cigarettes now costing as much as €8.45 a packet, reports the Independent. Sales of John Player & Sons’ Golden Virginia rolling tobacco have grown by about 20% so far this year, while Tesco Ireland reports an increase of 10%, and other market sources have indicated a rise of 14%.

A new study by consumer magazine Which? has warned that pre-packed sandwiches may not be as healthy as they first appear. A cheese sandwich sold by Asda was found to have more saturated fat than a Big Mac. Meanwhile the survey picked up on by The Times (UK) found a Subway six-inch Meatball Marinara contained the equivalent salt content of 11 small bags of Walkers crisps and more than three quarters of the recommended daily limit for adults.

The Times (UK) also took a look at how Nestlé’s Perrier and S. Pellegrino brands, otherwise known as the “champagne of waters”, have taken a hit during the recession. Nestle’s water sales declined by 4.1% in the first three months of this year; Western Europe being particularly badly hit.




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