In the papers this week 28 Mar – 3 Apr 2009

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Dunnes Point Village dispute settled, Asda gets go-ahead for biggest Northern Ireland store, Aldi launches first Irish TV campaign



3 April 2009

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The dispute over Dunnes Stores’ alleged failure to complete an agreement to become anchor tenant at the Point Village in Dublin’s docklands has been settled, according to The Irish Independent. Businessman Harry Crosbie had sought orders requiring Dunnes to pay €23m. He also alleged that Margaret Heffernan’s associate Irwin Druker told him, "Dunnes can break any contract" and the homewares business "is f****d".

Superquinn’s major restructuring will involve 394 redundancies and a pay freeze for at least 12 months. However workers are to receive 1.5% of the proceeds from any sale of the business in the future, and a potential share of profits when the company returns to the black. Over 90% of workers supported this proposal in union ballots, The Irish Times has reported.

The North’s Environment Minister Sammy Wilson this week gave the go-ahead for Asda to build their largest store in the North. Local traders in Antrim had campaigned against the new 54,000 sq ft store destined for out-of-town complex, Junction One, claiming it would decimate the town centre. The minister is not of the same mind however, reports The Sunday Business Post.    

Tesco is to encourage customers to discard unwanted and excessive packaging near the tills, in an experiment along the lines of a similar "take-back" scheme in Germany. The trial will run initially for six weeks at Tesco stores in Guildford, Surrey, and Ilminster, Somerset, reports The Guardian (UK).

Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose, bought himself some breathing space this week, according to The Guardian (UK), with a far better than expected trading update. The retailer whose profits are expected to collapse 40% this year from 2008’s £1bn, reported a decline in like-for-like sales of 4.2% over the last 13 weeks. However City analysts had anticipated a 7% decline, and Rose attributed this improvement to “hard graft.”  

Leading economist Jim Power comments on the forthcoming ‘mini-budget’ in The Irish Times this week. He believes that, “The Minister for Finance will need to be extremely careful that he does not finally kill off the consumer with ill-judged tax increases.”

Following similar thinking, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has hinted that a tax increase may not be applied to cigarettes in the forthcoming budget, reports The Irish Times. He told the Dáil that “any further increases in the rate of excise on tobacco will have to be considered in the context of the law of diminishing returns that apply to tax increases”.

Aldi launching its first TV campaign in Ireland this week will reinvigorate the efforts of Tesco and other rivals, according to Siobhán O’Connell in The Irish Times. However Tesco, which announces itself as “Ireland’s Biggest Discounter”, says it will adopt a different approach. Marketing director Kenny Jacobs, claims Lidl’s “big Sunday newspaper ads are more about advertising to the other retailers. It doesn’t make a customer go out and buy a leg of lamb on Sunday morning for their dinner.”

Tesco UK is meanwhile facing a tough time from its competitors. Asda and Morrisons are gaining ground while Tesco’s share of all grocery till receipts has slipped from 30.8 to 30.4% according to TNS data. The Financial Times (UK) takes a look.  

Heinken Ireland has confirmed plans to sell the historic Beamish and Crawford site in Cork after the brewery closes in mid-May despite calls to develop the building as a tourist attraction, reports The Irish Times. The closure has led to the loss of 120 jobs, while a further 40 will transfer from Beamish and Crawford to Lady’s Well, where Heineken produces lager and Murphy’s stout.




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