Top stories in the papers this week 13 – 19 November 2012

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Supermarkets costing us more in cash and jobs; Smokers' group says high taxation on cigarettes 'not working'; Tesco butters up stores with Irish produce



19 November 2012

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1. Supermarkets costing us more in cash and jobs

"The big retailers are squeezing margins – and nobody but themselves benefit," writes Ciarán Fitzgerald in The Irish Times. Fitzgerald states CSO data and the consumer price index show supermarket retailers have at least maintained, if not increased, their margins though the recession, while every other retail sector "has seen their margins shredded." Fitzgerald claims supermarkets have achieved this by "taking margin from their suppliers" and loss-leading.

2. Smokers’ group: High taxation on cigarettes ‘not working’

The government should cut the price of a packet of cigarettes by €1 in next month’s budget, says smokers’ group Forest Eireann. Spokesman John Mallon said that since 2005 smoking rates in Ireland have increased and revenues have remained flat, despite a near doubling of tobacco duty. The Irish Examiner reports Mallon said the move would reduce smuggling and have no adverse impact on revenue or public health.

 3. Tesco butters up stores with Irish produce

Tesco stores in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary will stock Irish packet butter as part of the chain’s new €20m supply contract with the Irish Dairy Board. During the remainder of 2012 and throughout 2013, the Tesco outlets will sell Irish butter under the company’s own brand label. According to The Irish Examiner, Tesco Ireland chief executive Tony Keohane said the announcement "reaffirms Tesco as a very significant buyer of Irish food".

4. 650 seasonal retail jobs created for Christmas

To cover the hectic Christmas period, 650 seasonal retail jobs have been announced this week. The Irish Independent reports that Boots Ireland plans to create 400 temporary full and part-time positions to cover the festive celebrations. In addition, department store Heatons will create 250 temporary jobs in its retail stores throughout Ireland. The news comes after Argos said in September it was recruiting up to 700 temporary workers.

5. Wal-Mart stores face closures over staff protests

Wal-Mart is facing possible store closures due to staff work stoppages over the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday. Set to culminate on this week’s ‘Black Friday’ – the biggest shopping day in the US – The Irish Examiner reports that the strikes, already seen at the company’s distribution warehouses in Southern California and Seattle, are part of a wider campaign of 1,000 protests by a union-backed employee coalition called ‘Making Change at Wal-Mart’.


Black market ‘costs Exchequer €860m’ (Irish Examiner)

Confectionery firm savours the sweet smell of success (Irish Independent)

Baskets half full or half empty? (Irish Independent)

Sainsbury outshines Tesco with profit rise (Dublin News)

A fat lot of good we’re doing in war on obesity (Irish Independent)

Calling on food retailers to introduce pensioner discount day (Impartial Reporter, Northern Ireland)

Food industry and supermarkets back healthy eating drive (Guardian, UK)
-Department of Health’s Responsibility Drive aims to increase number of people eating five-a-day on fruit and vegetables

‘Fat tax’ gets slim support from firms (Irish Times)

Starbucks needs to wake up and smell the weasel words (Irish Times) 

Hard-up British families heading for an own-brand Christmas, says Sainsbury’s (Guardian, UK)
-Chief executive Justin King sees growth opportunities ahead for retailer as it reports half-year profits have risen by 5%

Uniphar to acquire Cahill May Roberts for €50m (Irish Times)

Which? supermarket investigation exposes shifty multibuy practices (Guardian, UK)
-Consumer group says some deals it found were ‘plain daft’, with offers promising savings leaving shoppers worse off

Sainsbury’s market strategy leaves its shelves well-stocked with profit (Irish Times)

Christmas trading will be tough, Asda forecasts (Guardian, UK)



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