Top stories in the papers this week 3 – 9 July 2010

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Retail rents down 50%; Ireland hit by hikes in food prices; M&S underlying sales rise



9 July 2010

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1. Retail rents down 50%

Rental costs in Dublin’s prime retail space have plummeted by as much as 50% since peak levels during the boom years. The Evening Herald reports that a study by property consultants CB Richard Ellis shows yields for prime high-street retail investments have improved quarter-on-quarter from 6.5% to 6.25%. Furthermore, the research shows retailers are more upbeat than they were just six months ago, but the next six months will continue to be challenging.

2. Ireland hit by hikes in food prices

The latest CSO figures show food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 0.1% in June, following a 0.4% rise in May. Bloxham Stockbrokers chief economist Alan McQuaid said in the Irish Examiner, that following the pick up in global commodity prices, the price of food was rising across the world – with some of the sharpest rises being seen in Ireland – which was also being hurt by a weak euro compared to sterling and the US dollar.

3. M&S underlying sales rise

Marks & Spencer has posted a third consecutive rise in underlying quarterly sales, though its rate of improvement has slowed a little; the Irish Times reports. The retailer said sales at UK stores open at least a year rose 3.6% in the 13 weeks to July 3rd, its first quarter. This was toward the top end of forecasts and boosted by a strong performance in clothing, although food sales were also up 1.5% on the same basis, stoked by 570 new product launches, including the "Grill" meat range.

4. Retail planning guidelines can result in lower grocery prices

Neil Callanan of the Sunday Tribune examines whether it’s time to liberate the discounters by changing the Retail Planning Guidelines to allow more competition into the market. The current planning system is said by some to act as a barrier to competition, prohibiting the likes of Asda from entering the Irish market. Submissions on the new guidelines need to be made before the end of July.

5. €70m to be invested in motorway service sites

According to the Irish Times Applegreen, building contractor Pierse and Top Oil are planning to invest €70 million in a public-private deal to develop a series of motorway service sites for the National Roads Authority (NRA). The three are partners in the Superstop Consortium, which has won a contract from the NRA to build and operate the sites. The paper reports that the group would create 300 full and part-time jobs at the sites. The sites are nearly completed and the first, at Lusk, should open in the autumn, followed shortly after by the other two.


EU-level food price solution likely (Irish Examiner)

Overall retail sales volumes rise as prices dip by 0.1% (Irish Examiner)

Has Amazon gone bananas? – Retailer starts selling groceries online (Digital Times)

Planning for Dunshaughlin centre appealed to Bord Pleanala (Meath Chronicle)

City unsure if grocery service can deliver the goods (Irish Times)

Service charges dispute on main street, Tullamore (Tullamore Tribune)

High street vacancy rates ‘only 5%’ (Irish Times)



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