Top stories in the papers this week 3 – 10 September 2010

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Parliament votes in favour of report urging fairer deal for farmers; Wholesale firm opens €1.5m facility extension; Marks & Spencer goes for brands



28 September 2010

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1. Parliament votes in favour of report urging fairer deal for farmers

The European Parliament has voted in favour of a report which calls for a better functioning food supply chain that will deliver a fairer return to farmers. The Irish Examiner reports Máiréad McGuinness (FG), Marian Harkin (Ind) and Seán Kelly (FG), all Irish members of the parliament, as well as Copa-Cogeca, the umbrella body for European farmers and co-ops have welcomed the decision as “a first step in the fight to ensure a fair system for farmers.”

2. Marks & Spencer goes for brands

Marks and Spencer is now selling big name brands across its Irish stores. Last week the retailer put 450 non-M&S products on the shelves of its biggest stores, according to a report in the Irish Times. Smaller numbers of branded products will also be sold in smaller outlets. The new products include several Irish brands, although none of M&S’ own products will be de-listed to make way for the newcomers.

3. Wholesale firm opens €1.5m facility extension

The Barry Group officially opened a €1.5 million extension to its state-of-the-art central distribution base in north Cork this week. The Irish Examiner reports the new 145,000sq ft facility in Mallow, opened by Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe, will help accelerate the group’s ambitious three-year growth plan. This includes opening eight new Buy Lo stores before the year’s end, bringing to 10 the total number of such stores, and doubling its number of Carry Out specialist off-licence stores by 2012.

4. Online grocer shares fall despite sales improvement

Online grocer Ocado’s difficult start to life as a public company has continued, the company’s first trading update since the move reveals. The Irish Examiner reports that a 29.5% increase in gross sales to £126.5m (€152m) in the 12 weeks to August 8 did not boost confidence, as shares dropped 4% to 150p. Ocado said sales were boosted by an increase in purchases through its mobile phone channels, using applications on Apple’s iPhone and smartphones on Google’s Android system.

5. Car park trade down 17% with ‘bus gate’

The number of drivers using Dublin city centre car parks has fallen by up to 17%  since the introduction of the College Green “bus gate” last year, a report commissioned by Dublin City Council has found. The Irish Times reports consultants CB Richard Ellis said they couldn’t identify the impact of the bus gate on shopping because Dublin City Business Association didn’t supply the necessary information on retail sales, but nevertheless found car park traffic had been directly affected.


Belfast’s retail outlook more dismal than Disney (Irish Times)

Checks urged over web alcohol sales (Belfast Telegraph)

IFA warn factories and retailers of need to offer finishers viable prices (Irish Examiner)

Law to curb supermarket chains will aid farmers (Irish Independent)

Fuel price war in Ballindine  (Mayo News)

Ulster Bank to open on Saturdays (Irish Times)

ESB price hike plan criticised as cost of energy falls (Irish Independent)

And so this is Christmas . . . in September (Irish Times)
– How Brown Thomas and other retailers are already capitalising on the festive season to bolster sales



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