Top stories in the papers this week 3 – 9 December 2011

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Tesco hit by price war that it triggered; Musgrave's Superquinn buy 'blocked new entrant'; VAT increase to 23% confirmed



9 December 2011

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1. Tesco hit by price war that it triggered

A price war raging among the major supermarkets has eroded the dominance of market leader Tesco, industry figures show. Tesco’s share has slipped from 30.7% a year ago to 30.5% while its growth rate of 3.8% has fallen behind rivals, according to Kantar Worldpanel stastitics. The Belfast Telegraph reports Tesco’s £500m Big Price Drop campaign triggered an aggressive response, as competitors hit back with their own schemes.

2. Musgrave’s Superquinn buy ‘blocked new entrant’

Not selling Superquinn to Musgrave might have allowed a new entrant to enter the Irish grocery market, the Competition Authority has admitted. The Irish Independent reports the authority said Superquinn represented “a potentially attractive means for a new entrant to enter the Irish market.” It revealed there was one other "serious” bidder for Superquinn, yet also outlined reasons why it doesn’t believe Musgrave was trying to block a new entrant.

3. VAT increase to 23% confirmed

Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed this week that the higher rate of VAT is to be increased from 21% to 23%, The Irish Times reports the much-publicised VAT rise, is expected to raise €670 million of the total €1 billion that is to be raised by the exchequer next year. Mr Noonan said he didn’t expect any increase in cross-border shopping as a result of the VAT increase.

4. Top stores face legal threat over misleading price claims

Four of the UK’s biggest supermarkets could face prosecution over misleading pricing practices, a consumer law expert has warned. The Irish Independent states that in a report on supermarket price wars for BBC1’s ‘Panorama’ programme, Deborah Parry said many of the pricing tactics used by Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons could potentially be illegal. However, all four have denied misleading or deceiving customers.

5. Free parking an early festive gift for city shoppers

An “early Christmas present” has been delivered to retailers and shoppers in Belfast, Lisburn and Newry with the announcement of free on-street parking in the run-up to Christmas. The Newsletter reports Transport Minister Danny Kennedy  announced that from December 5 to Christmas Eve inclusive, payment for on-street parking will be suspended from 4.30pm, Monday to Friday and all day Saturday, in Newry, Lisburn and the central zone of Belfast city centre.


Retailers pin their hopes on rush to beat VAT hike (Cork News)

Country shoppers stay out of Dublin as tradition fades (Irish Times)

India must exert its bargaining power over foreign supermarkets (Guardian, UK)

Successful baby food start-up
to launch range of healthy meals (Irish Examiner)

Free range chicken farmers scoop €1.3m SuperValu contract (Evening Echo)

Tesco suffers fourth quarter of falling sales (Guardian, UK)
-Big Price Drop promotion in UK fails to halt slide in sales as cash-strapped consumers cut back on groceries

Greencore profit falls on GBP24m deal loss (

VAT hike will be final straw for small retailers (Irish Independent)

Sainsbury’s readies for Christmas sales war – and the ammo is 5m mince pies

Republic of Ireland’s VAT hike could see shoppers flood north again (Belfast Telegraph)

Addict robbed shop three times (Irish Times)



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