Top stories in the papers this week: 10 – 16 April 2010
Superquinn not for sale; 40% of retailers forecast layoffs; Bond stands down as Asda chief executive
15 April 2010
1. Superquinn not for sale
Superquinn chief executive Simon Burke told The Irish Times this week that the Irish-owned supermarket is not for sale and no one has come looking to buy it “in a long, long time.” He also said the well-publicised difficulties of some of his co-owners has had no impact on Superquinn, and he has received assurances from his business partners that the retailer will not be drawn into Nama.
2. 40% of retailers forecast layoffs
Some 40% of retailers expect employee numbers to fall over the next three months, a new Retail Ireland survey has revealed. Director Torlach Denihan wants every landlord to take decisive action by, “at a minimum, reversing on a voluntary basis rent increases implemented under the last rent review.” The Irish Times reports he has called on Government to endorse this request and to write to all major landlords urging this course of action.
3. Bond stands down as Asda chief executive
Speculation is abounding over whether Andy Bond stood down as Asda chief executive of his own accord – or if he was pushed due to falling sales since Christmas – despite an Asda spokeswoman insisting it was “completely Andy’s decision." Greg Lawless, Collins Stewart analyst, suggests to The Guardian that Bond had become frustrated at not getting the financial firepower to pull off a major acquisition, despite being linked to bids for Matalan and Homebase.
4. Cigarette smuggling costs retailers €692 million
Retailers were forced to write off €692 million in lost tobacco sales last year, due to the lucrative illegal trade, although nine shops are being investigated by customs for selling counterfeit brands. The Irish Independent reports a review by Japan Tobacco International (JTI) likewise found cigarette smuggling cost the Government €556 million euro in lost taxes. Earlier this year, JTI took the "unprecedented" decision to cease trading with a midlands shop believed to be selling counterfeit product.
5. Farmers mislead public on low returns, says Superquinn’s Simon Burke
Superquinn boss Simon Burke has said farmers actually get the biggest share of anyone in the food supply chain – because their milk has to be collected, consolidated, processed and shipped to the shops. Burke told The Irish Times he was not anti-farmer, but said IFA claims that retailers charge consumers up to five times the price paid to farmers for basic foods, were “disingenuous”. He added farmers would get “bugger all” were there actually a 1980s’ style price war on milk in action.
Grocery bills ‘face hike’ if code of practice implemented (The Irish Independent)
Total retail sales up 3%, but food and drink sales falling 5% year on year (The Irish Times)
Sales may be rising but one in three struggle to pay bills (The Irish Independent)
Gardai follow the cash to hit ATM gang in pocket (The Irish Independent)
Fyffes’ earnings up by 38% (The Irish Examiner)
Coca-Cola takes majority stake in Innocent smoothies (The Irish Independent)
Jam maker, baker and organic food supplier hungry for success at SuperValu
Food Producers Awards (The Irish Times)
Council votes to rezone land at Carrickmines for retail (The Irish Times)