In the papers this week 20 – 26 June 2009

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Tesco to face more industrial action; Government to bring in 'code of practice for retailers' EU meets over dairy crisis, Aldi in trouble with the GAA



26 June 2009

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Unrelated to last week’s announcement, another strike is being threatened against Tesco.

This time over 140 planned layoffs, The Irish Times reports. Should Tesco not enter talks and Siptu passes the vote to take action, the strike would take place in Tesco’s Dún Laoghaire head office. The restructuring plan being challenged would force those laid off to reapply for jobs with reduced benefits.

Economist Jim Power informed an Oireachtas committee that 100,000 Irish jobs are at stake if discount retailers continue to import products from the UK, The Irish Times also reports. This is Tesco’s current practice, said Power, as they increasingly push out Irish brands like Tayto, Miwadi, and Cidona for their reduced-price own-brand products. If pressure increases as other retailers take on a similar scheme, Irish brands will have their current employment cut in half.

In response to this claim, as well as the general cost of business, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Mary Coughlan is instituting a “code of practice” for the food sector, according to The Irish Times. Food and Drink Industry Ireland called for this ombudsman, claiming there is an imbalance between retailers and suppliers, resulting in high profitability for certain retailers and high costs for suppliers.

Padraig Walshe, president of the Irish Farmers Association, backed Food and Drink Industry Ireland’s comments, saying that he had previously requested the same ombudsman of the industry. According to the Irish Examiner, he added that one in eight Irish jobs is linked to food and farming and that the Government was doing a disservice to the people by ignoring the effect that rival discounters have on the industry.

A survey of Ireland has found that 55% of consumers shop in four different supermarkets and continue to travel North to find the best grocery deals, says the Irish Times. In a report made to the National Dairy Council, it was revealed that 72% have switched to cheaper groceries, discounters represent 7% of all grocery sales, and own-brand products account for 18.7% of sales.

Last week EU leaders discussed the failing dairy market amid a dialogue on global crises, during which they called for an in-depth analysis and steps towards strengthening the dairy industry. Irish Examiner writer Stephen Cadogan speculates that this will serve as a comeuppance for supermarkets, which have been buying wholesale milk products at low prices and selling them for more; at prices up to 10% higher than last year.

Marks & Spencer’s 10-year plan in Ireland is to double its presence and have a store within an hour of 80% of the population, reports the Sunday Business Post. This week the company opens its 20th store, in Clonmel, and hopes to expand to Limerick, Waterford, and more Cork locations.

The continental US will get the chance to forego marked-up in-store items and online shipping fees and instead try out a new retail model known as, reports the Financial Times. The beta website sells 6,000 items at discount prices with free shipping, making it competition for discount retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, as well as and They are implementing a business model that asks the suppliers, not the consumer, to pay an extra fee for advertising to cover their costs.

A Galway man and Worcestershire man will be tried for defrauding British stores with caged hen’s eggs posed as free-range and organic, reports The Daily Express (UK). The founder of Pearse Piggott & Sons egg distribution company sold over 36 million wrongly-labelled eggs between 2004 and 2007. The multi-million Euro scam was carried out through false documentation, and Piggott faces charges of conspiracy to defraud, false accounting, and perverting the course of justice.

Cheap wines are nothing to balk at according to Meininger’s Wine Business International, which took a surprisingly agreeable blind taste testing of wines from a number of UK supermarkets. All of the wines were priced under £4, and Lidl, Aldi, and Tesco took the runners-up spots respectively. Irish Times columnist John Wilson tried his own blind taste test of €8-and-under Irish supermarket wines and listed his top picks.

Aldi is being made to modify its current advertising of Gaelic football gear to clarify that the GAA does not approve them, reports the Irish Independent. Their new line of sliotars and footballs has been sourced from Irish manufacturers but the promotional material, which reads “conforms with GAA specifications,” has been blocked by the GAA as they are not officially tested or approved items. Aldi has agreed to remove the phrase from in-store and online promotions.

Irish Times writer Hugo Arnold considers the custom of tipping, where and when it’s encouraged, and how certain companies divvy up the earnings.



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