Top stories in the papers this week 12 – 19 November 2010

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Cross-border shoppers spend €418m; Three new Tesco stores provide 310 jobs; Greencore and Northern Foods plan to merge



18 November 2010

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1. Cross-border shoppers spend €418m

Shoppers from the Republic spent an estimated €418 million in the North over a 12-month period up to last July. The Irish Examiner reports that although the level of overall cross-border shopping did fall by 4% over 2010, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) described this decrease as not statistically significant. The paper also states the number of households in Dublin who shopped in the North fell from 21% to 15%. Groceries remain the most popular item of expenditure, with 77% of all cross-border shoppers buying some food products.

2. Three new Tesco stores provide 310 jobs

Tesco opened three new outlets this week as part of the retail giant’s €113 million national investment plans for this year and next. The Irish Times reports the move has provided 90 new jobs in Swinford, Co Mayo, and 110 jobs each in Oranmore, Co Galway and Ballybeg, Waterford city. A further 15 jobs will be created when a Tesco Express store opens in Newcastle, Galway city, next week. The paper reveals news of  the Swinford store sparked an unprecedented response from job seekers locally last August, when 600 people applied for jobs within 10 days.

3. Greencore and Northern Foods plan to merge

Greencore Group and Northern Foods Plc have agreed to merge in a transaction that will create a company with annual sales of about €2bn. The Irish Independent reports that the combination of the food makers, which both supply UK retailers including Tesco and Marks & Spencer, will lead to alleged annual cost savings of €47bn within three years. The companies said the new group, called Essenta Foods, will have strong market positions in sandwiches and ready meals, which grew 9.8% and 7.7%, respectively, in the UK last year.

4. Pretax profit at Boots drops 50%

Pretax profits at the Irish arm of pharmaceutical retail giant, Boots more than halved last year to €11 million. According to the Irish Times, revenue at Boots Retail (Ireland) Ltd increased marginally to €265.8 million in the 12 months to the end of March last, from €262.6 million the previous year, according to figures filed with the Companies Office. However, the groups recorded a 10% increase in operating costs. Boots added four new Irish stores and staff costs increased by 9% over the period. MD Debbie Smith also cited “the fragile state of the Irish economy” in explaining a 3.9% drop in like-for-like revenues.

5. Profits rise at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has posted a higher quarterly profit of $3.44 billion in the third quarter ended October 31st, compared with $3.15 billion a year earlier. The Irish Times reports the world’s largest retailer has raised its full-year earnings forecast, but US same-store sales declined by 1.3% at stores open at least a year; the group’s sixth consecutive quarterly decline. This was said to be aggravated by the company’s missteps in merchandise selection and promotion. Wal-Mart’s British arm Asda has said it expects to create more than 7,500 jobs next year by opening new stores, expanding its home shopping service, and through its purchase of Netto UK shops.


Business interview: Tom Keogh, chief executive (AIM Group) discusses Iceland plans (Sunday Business Post)

Lending to SMEs ‘improving’ (Irish Times)

Lidl under fire for selling reindeer meat in UK stores in run-up to Christmas (RTE)

Plans for Aldi store in Carrick-on-Shannon are delayed (Shannonside FM)

EU sugar changes not so sweet for Ardfinnan (Irish Independent)

Comment: New arrivals herald revival (Sunday Business Post)

Lower rents bring back fashion retail buzz (Sunday Business Post)

Derry people in favour of new Asda (Belfast Telegraph)

Shoppers in Republic urged to spend local (Irish Times)

Buy local now to save town (Enniscorthy Echo)

Major fire at NI shopping centre (Irish Times)

Stop making cents (Irish Times)
-Should Europe get rid of the one cent coin?

Campaign to buy Irish craft launched (Irish Times)



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