This year, Checkout commemorates its 40th anniversary and with this in mind, every week, Retail Intelligence is going to 'reel in the years' and publish a story from our extensive archives. This interview from February 1976 with Frank Dunne records Dunnes Stores' first foray into the cash and carry business.
Checkout can confirm that Dunnes Stores, the immensely successful grocery/drapery chain will shortly become involved in the cash & carry business.
In an exclusive interview, Frank Dunne, the Managing Director of Dunnes Stores, confirmed to Checkout that in May/June of this year Dunnes Stores will open their first cash & carry in Ireland. Their first cash & carry will be a 35,000 sq. ft. unit located close to the main arterial roads from Dublin to the South and the West of Ireland. This surprise announcement confirms some speculation that Dunnes have planned to diversify their highly successful retail operation.
Frank Dunne told the Editor of Checkout that they had been impressed by the developing cash & carry business and that he personally over the last three years had been looking very closely at cash & carry developments in Britain and Europe. He felt that the strength of Dunnes Stores as a retail organisation would be of immense benefit to their development as a cash & carry operator.
When asked if he felt that there would be some reaction to a Dunnes move into cash & carry by the retailer, Frank Dunne pointed out that it was quite common practice in Britain and Europe for distributors to be involved in multiple trading, group trading, and cash & carry.
Frank Dunne was asked by Checkout if he saw their advent into the cash & carry business as being the occasion for a possible cash & carry price war. He said that though they had no desire to start a price war in the cash & carry business, if such a situation developed they would not start a price war but they would finish it.
This major move by a Dunnes Stores subsidiary could herald a new era in cash & carry trading. Frank Dunne obviously intends to bring to bear in their cash & carry development all the strengths of the Dunnes retail organisation. He pointed out the strength of their purchasing power in drapery, non-foods and toys, and indicated that on the fresh vegetables and meat side they could offer significant savings to the caterer and the independent grocer.
In talking to Checkout, Frank Dunne stated that the Dublin cash & carry was the first of a number of developments. He believed that his retail stores differed in many aspects from the independent grocer. The independent grocer had a unique advantage in terms of location, personal service and flexibility in trading hours and he competed in different areas.
And his final message to Checkout was that as an Irish company committed to the distribution in Ireland, he felt that they could bring to the cash & carry field a different type of skill and that they would offer in their cash & carry competitive pricing, and a comprehensive range of merchandise. He felt it was desirable that an Irish company committed to an Irish position woule be more acceptable than a Multi-national or foreign concern.
No doubt the existing cash & carry operators will be unhappy about this significant move of Dunnes but as Frank Dunne says, competition is good for business and in his view competition in cash & carry and their entry can only benefit the individual trader be he grocer, TSN or caterer.
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