In the papers this week 27 Feb – 5 March 2010
Minimum tobacco prices 'breach EU law'; True origins of 'Irish' products revealed; Council called on to act over Dunne's D4 Stores
5 March 2010
Minimum cigarette prices imposed by Ireland, Austria and France infringe European law, the European Court of Justice ruled yesterday. Fixing minimum retail prices wrongfully puts manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, according to the court in Luxembourg. The Irish Times reports the European Commission had also argued that price restrictions are "not necessary" to reduce tobacco consumption.
Anti-smoking group Ash Ireland has called on the Government to increase taxes on cigarettes following the European Court of Justice’s ruling on minimum pricing. The Irish Cancer Society added in The Irish Times that Government must also “bring in legislation immediately to prohibit tobacco manufacturers from selling tobacco products at a loss.” Tobacco company PJ Carroll welcomed the move however, stating the minimum price had become irrelevant because of illegal sales – whereby packs of 20 cigarettes could be bought for €3.50 across the country.
The Irish Times has examined the true origins of products consumers largely assume to be Irish-produced. The paper conducted a straw poll on Twitter to discover how much, if anything, people would be prepared to pay to ensure their food was locally produced. The vast majority said they would be willing to pay in the region of 10% extra when it came to fruit and vegetables, rising to 25% more for meat. What’s more, products such as Jacob’s Fig Rolls which claims to have been “Ireland’s favourite for over 100 years” were revealed to be manufactured in Malta.
The Irish grocery market has been hit harder by the downturn than the UK and will "take time" to revert to shopping levels witnessed in 2007. That was the verdict of a new report by Barclays Corporate published in The Irish Independent this week. The report pointed out that consumer price sensitivity remains at an all-time high as shoppers continue to hunt for bargains and make their money stretch further. It also underlined the fact that price rather than convenience continues to drive loyalty, and said the outlook for independent retailers in Ireland "remains challenging."
Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton has called on Dublin City Council to make an immediate decision on whether Gayle Killilea’s D4 Stores is in breach of the planning laws. The store which is located in the former Jury’s Hotel in Ballsbridge has been open since last summer. Property developer Sean Dunne previously claimed his wife’s venture didn’t breach planning legislation as it was a convenience store and not a supermarket. Creighton however has maintained that the council must be “seen to act on this for consistency.”
The Examiner reports on Excel Recruitment’s retail management survey, which found managers in border stores were forced to take pay cuts of over 30% during the last 12 months. The survey which was first published in ShelfLife, also discovered that 22% of managers felt their stores now employ fewer foreigners. Of these, 38% left voluntarily to return to their home countries.