Ireland has one of the most highly developed convenience sectors anywhere in the world, with thoroughly impressive standards and innovative in-store concepts. Here we speak to the leading players to help you choose the right brand for you
27 October 2022
Number of stores nationwide: 485+
Typical store size: Format specific; High-C 2,000sq ft, Convenience 4,000sq ft, Neighbourhood 7,000sq ft
Head office: Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, Tramore Road, Cork
Wholesale partner: Musgrave Retail Partners
Type of distribution network: National
Tagline: Live Every Day
Q&A with… Cormac Dawson, Centra sales director
Q: Working in partnership with retailers, what support and advice do you provide to enable them to run their businesses more successfully?
A: Firstly, we have to commend and thank our retailers for their efforts and commitment in making Centra a world class convenience brand.
Musgrave’s purpose is growing good business, which means working with all retail partners to create sustainable, profitable businesses that benefist staff, local communities, and the wider economy.
We worked with our retailers during the global pandemic which impacted every Centra store differently. Our retailers were fantastic throughout this period in the way they looked after their local communities. After little time to regroup post Covid-19, we are now facing into another period of uncertainty with the energy crisis and cost of living concerns evident across the economy.
We are confident that our partnership approach will guide us through this challenge. We recently met with all our retailers face to face to outline how we can reduce our energy consumption and upweight our value offering to our customers. Over the coming weeks we will provide every retailer with a store specific action plan to reduce their energy consumption by up to 30%; we are confident this approach, designed to mitigate immediate cost inflation, will reap rewards for the long term.
Centra is also focused on leading the way with in-store technology to help manage the cost base; including electronic shelf labels, self-checkouts and a cost effective in store IT programs.
At the same time, we are offering a combination of great value and top-quality products for our customers whilst driving profitable sales for our retailers and supporting local producers.
Q: How have you innovated to deliver in-store concepts and a store design that consumers are drawn towards?
A: We launched our freshly prepared meals in September 2021 prepared with the freshest ingredients to provide choice, quality and convenience to our customers.
As well as dinner options, we provide consumers with healthy choices for breakfast and lunch including snackable fruit pots, our award-winning Inspired by rotisserie chicken and freshly made salad ‘on the go’ offerings.
In terms of our store design, Centra stores are renowned for their very high-quality standards.
Q: As the cost-of-living-crisis continues to affect consumers’ budgets, value-for-money has become even more important. How are you ensuring you provide the best value and promotions possible for your retailers?
A: We have significantly increased our own brand alternatives this year with new products added to baby, bakery, biscuit, sauces, and ice-cream ranges. Centra currently has over 2,000 own brand products across 50% packaged, 50% fresh items. Customers can make up to 30% saving by switching to own brand products.
A lot of work has been done to make value easy to find and standout for customers in store and through on-line advertising.
Q: How extensive is your brand marketing programme and how do you ensure your messaging resonates with consumers?
A: Centra’s programme is extensive, between the material we create centrally and the marketing generated by our retailers locally for their stores.
Earlier this year we aired a brand campaign, ‘Choices’ which reinforced our core belief which is to Live Every Day as well as our commitment to local communities. Specifically, through our marketing communications, both above and below the line, nationally and locally, we highlight the many benefits of shopping Centra including convenience, value, , award winning own brand ranges, Frank and Honest coffee, a standout off-licence and an amazing deli offering.
Q: How are you working to support local Irish suppliers and deliver quality Irish produce for your retailers?
A: Centra is one of the largest supporters of Irish produce in the industry, sourcing products from over 1,000 Irish suppliers. According to a recent economic impact report by leading economist Jim Power, the financial contribution of Centra stores to Ireland’s economy is valued at an estimated €646.7 million.
Q: How would you sum up your main goals for the next 12 months?
A: Our primary goal is supporting both our retail partners and their customers through the current inflationary issues.
Aside from this we will be adding 18 new stores through a mixture of new builds and acquisition. Our trajectory is upwards, and we will be close to 500 stores by year end.
Together with our retail partners, Centra is relentless in the pursuit of offering the best quality, price and food & beverage experience and are proud to be a world class convenience retailer.