In the papers this week 2 – 8 May 2009

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Eddie Hobbs retires from the NCA, Tesco Ireland seeks price reductions of up to 20% from Irish suppliers, Innocent Smoothies cuts prices by up to 20%



8 May 2009

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Eddie Hobbs has retired from the NCA, just weeks after Cecilia Larkin rejected his calls to stand down over a controversial €48,000 loan. The Irish Independent reports Hobbs stated state agency board fees don’t "represent good value for taxpayers’ money" and that he would forego payment if reappointed.

The Indo also examines the NCA’s "mixed record in combating rip-offs." Chief executive Ann Fitzgerald said of the agency’s work to lower grocery prices; "We have spent more than the past year trying to get answers and have failed."

Tesco Ireland is seeking price cuts of up to 20% from Irish suppliers to guarantee their place in its newly reconfigured stores, reports The Irish Times. Leading suppliers have allegedly been told to lower prices if they want their brand prominently displayed.

The Irish Times also examined the reaction to Tesco’s news earlier this week, of thousands of price reductions in 11 stores near the border. "It’s like Christmas day," said Bill Tosh, head of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, but the IFA and Food and Drink Industry Ireland weren’t nearly as happy. "A black day for the Irish food industry," was how the latter described it.

Meanwhile Tesco has sought planning permission for a scaled back shopping centre on land it owns on the Monread Road in Naas, Co Kildare, reports The Sunday Tribune. The multiple bought a 15-acre site there in 2004 for €45 million and secured planning for a shopping centre over 18,500 sq m. Last week however, it published plans for a 16,500 sq m. centre.

Restaurant critic Tom Doorley tested out supermarket ‘meal deals’ in the Irish Times this week and was pleasantly surprised by the multiples’ culinary offerings. He deemed M&S to offer the best main course and desert, awarded Tesco top marks for its ‘Finest Colcannon’ side dish, and claimed Dunnes’ wine was "head and shoulders above the others." 

From next week, Innocent will be reducing its prices here by between 10% and 20%, and hopes retailers will pass on these cuts, reports The Sunday Tribune. The smoothie maker has experienced falling sales, although its market share has risen. Subsequently, only one trade marketing position remains within the company’s marketing department.

Pre-tax profits of the Dairygold group plunged to €2.3 million last year, compared to €21.5 million in 2007, reports The Irish Independent. The co-op described 2008 as one of the most challenging years on record, stating global dairy markets suffered a steep downturn in prices, while costs for energy, fertiliser and feed ingredients rose sharply.

Guinness chief John Kennedy has said that despite radical changes in drinking habits which have seen people turn to the off-trade, he wants a return to pub culture. Kennedy told The Sunday Business Post that the drift from the pub to home drinking was slowing, and he wants Guinness at the forefront of this change.

Cork firm YQ? International has bought the assets and business of rival Phonecard Warehouse, which collapsed 10 days ago, reports The Sunday Business Post. The deal which sees YQ? acquire Phonecard Warehouse’s nationwide network of 369 vending machines which sell mobile credit, was agreed last week.




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