Checkout At 40: SuperValu Take On The Jackeens

By Publications Checkout
Checkout At 40: SuperValu Take On The Jackeens

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 article first appeared in Checkout in February 1985

The first ever SuperValu supermarket in Dublin opened in Crumlin Village at the end of November. With 28 shopping days to Christmas, Musgrave director John Smith cut the tape to open Willie Casserley’s SuperValu at St. Agnes Road and, with it, opened a whole new chapter in the remarkable story of the IMD group, formed in 1979 and already accounting for annual turnover of £110 million.

SuperValu's first Dublin retailer, Willie Casserley, was display manager at Superquinn before going independent. His 4,000 sq. ft. outlet is right smack in the middle of an area served by Quinnsworth and Dunnes in Crumlin Shopping Centre, and nearby former colleagues Superquinn, in nearby Walkinstown Road. Is Willie Casserley overawed by the prospect of taking on the multiples on their own doorsteps?

“Not a bit of it. That’s just the kind of competition to keep us on our toes; nothing else. With Musgrave and SuperValu behind me, I can match the multiples across the board any day on prices; and because I’m on the shop floor, I can run them ragged on good old-fashioned personal service… 1985-style!”

Willie Casserley knows the competition; he was with Superquinn. And he knows the area: he was with Five Star when his store was a Five Star outlet in the seventies. Willie Casserley wanted to go independent and shopped around before opting for SuperValu.


“There is business to be done as an independent. But only as a professional independent. The multiples have been pretty professional operators and they have been taking more market share year after year. But so has SuperValu. SuperValu retailers’ turnover was up by an average of 20% last year. The whole group is not only holding its own against multiple competition, but is making steady gains the whole time. Let’s face it; the two IMD groups combined are the third biggest grocery organisation in the country; of course I can compete, and that is precisely what I’m doing in Crumlin Village.”

Does the arrival of SuperValu in Crumlin Village mean that Musgrave is now ready to move SuperValu into the Dublin market in a big way? “Yes it does,” according to John Smith of Musgrave. “It was less than two months after we took over Dublin distribution from our colleagues the Garveys that the first SuperValu opened in Crumlin, and we are now actively looking for retail professionals to open up the whole Dublin market with us.”

SuperValu in Crumlin offered up £2,500 worth of prizes in a very successful pre-Christmas promotion based on an entry for every £10 worth bought. Willie Caserley also organised a highly successful housedrop in the area, and plans further local promotions, along with the SuperValu marketing programme, throughout 1985. Meanwhile, Checkout readers will remember this Crumlin outlet for its previous tenant – a certain Mr. Wolfgang Heinl. We wonder if he will be back to check prices.

Pictured at the opening of the first Super-Valu in Dublin were: (L.-R.) SuperValu retailer Willie Casserley, Musgrave Group marketing manager, Seamus Scally and John Smith, operations director of Musgrave.

© 1985 - Checkout Magazine




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