Top stories in the papers this week 13 – 19 August 2010
NI supermarkets worked to restrict competition; Eason in sales strategy revamp as turnover falls 16%; Ballagh discount foodstore plans turned down
19 August 2010
1. Northern Ireland supermarkets worked to restrict competition
Eight Northern Ireland supermarket branches have been identified by the UK Competition Commission as operating under anti-competitive exclusivity agreements. The Belfast Telegraph reports the Commission found multiples – including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s – have arrangements with landowners which “prevent, restrict or distort” competition in certain areas. The supermarkets in question now have five years to lift these arrangements.
2. Eason in sales strategy revamp as turnover falls 16% to €313m
Bookseller and stationer Eason will next year embark on a significant revamp of its retailing business as it battles to lure more customers amid declining sales. Eason managing director Conor Whelan told the Irish Independent that a major customer survey had been undertaken by the group and that Eason’s product offering will be closely scrutinised in the coming months. This will lead to a sizeable decline in the number of magazine titles it carries in its stores and a number of new offerings.
3. Ballaghadereen discount foodstore plans turned down
An Bord Pleanala has overturned a grant of planning permission for a discount foodstore on the fringes of Ballaghaderreen. The Roscommon Herald reports Noel Regan & Sons (Plant Hire) Ltd. had secured permission in February to change the use of an industrial unit at Ballaghaderreen Business Park to retail use for the operation of a discount food store. However RGDATA appealed the plans, because of the “out of town” location of the proposed retailer.
4. Working group suggests commercial rent database
A database of commercial letting agreements should be made publicly available in order to assist businesses in their rent negotiations with landlords, a working group on commercial rent reviews set up by the Department of Justice has found. The Irish Times reports Retail Ireland has welcomed the report, which criticised an ad hoc “over-reliance on personal knowledge” in the calculation of market rents.
5. Asda sparks petrol price war at pumps
Asda has sparked a price war at petrol pumps in the north by announcing a two pence-a-litre reduction in the cost of its fuel. The Belfast Telegraph reports the cut means Asda customers across Northern Ireland will not pay more than 111.9p for unleaded, while its diesel will drop one pence to 114.9p a litre. The retailer has committed to hold down these prices at its seven outlets across the province for at least two weeks. Sainsbury’s and Tesco have since said they too will reduce the price of petrol.
Lidl’s streaky bacon wins major UK taste award (Irish Times)
Price wars – how does your county rate? (Irish Independent)
Business profile of Maurice Pratt, former face of Quinnsworth (Irish Times)
Cluster groups for SME food producers ‘could boost firms’ (Irish Examiner)
Retail sector set to take brunt of downturn (Irish Examiner)
Poundland aims to create up to 2,000 new jobs (Belfast Telegraph)
UK High Street sales up 1.1% (Irish Examiner)
Ready for the fall – analysis of Ireland’s department stores, including Dunnes Stores and Marks & Spencer (Irish Times)
Apple launches grocery app (Belfast Telegraph)
Supermarket giant Asda suffers second sales dip (Belfast Telegraph)
Dearer food keeps inflation high (Belfast Telegraph)