In the papers this week 7-13 Feb 2009

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Retailers found to underpay by NERA, NCA's latest survey shows competition increasing, retailers meet Oireachtas trade committee, and Dunnes leaves Crosbie in the lurch



18 February 2009

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The National Employment Rights Authority released a report which dished up another black mark against the grocery sector.

The second paragraph in The Irish Times story pointed up the fact that 64% of grocery retail businesses inspected were underpaying staff

In The Irish Times, the NCA’s latest price survey shows the gaps are opening between the retailers on branded goods, while prices of own-brand products have never been closer. Aldi and Lidl, however, remain 20% cheaper than the multiples

Meanwhile the Irish Independent focused on where prices are rising, pointing out that Tesco’s are actually increasing at the fastest rate

But what Ann Fitzgerald and Co at the NCA obviously haven’t realised is that Tesco is now in fact “a discounter.” Yes, as a special Valentine’s treat, it has designated itself “Ireland’s most romantic discounter,” in various ads for cut-price roses and chocs. It’s obviously hoping to get its hands on the population’s increased discretionary spend (well, the proportion of it who haven’t been made redundant anyhow), as the CSO’s latest statistics confirm that the cost of living is down

But try telling that to the man on the street. As far as the average punter is concerned his eyes have been well and truly opened to Ireland’s rip-off prices. Retailers such as RGDATA chairman John Foy and owner of a SuperValu and Arro Hardware in County Cavan, have been to point out that they’re not the ones profiting; as Cavan paper The Anglo Celt reports

Somebody not very happy with Dunnes at the moment is businessman Harry Crosbie. The alleged failure of Dunnes Stores to finalise its position as an anchor tenant at the Point Village development in Dublin’s docklands is jeopardising its future financing, he says and he wants Dunnes to cough up to the tune of €23m

Glanbia’s problems were also revealed this week. The food producer will have to cut 210 jobs

Others have had more luck as staying in rapidly becomes the new going out in the current economic malaise. Pernod Ricard has reported a 13% rise in its first-half sales

But while Guinness sales are up 2% in Ireland, it has suffered a net volume decline of 8% in Europe

On the other hand, while Irish consumers may be spending more on Guinness, a Microsoft survey shows people are spending the same amount on Valentine’s celebrations as they did last year, €16. Not enough for fancy jewellers or restaurants but on the upside, it’s plenty to say it with flowers, a box of chocs, and even a €5 top-up!



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