Did you know… Ahead of last week's local elections, NFRN Ireland distributed posters to its retail members' stores, calling for a rate relief scheme? NFRN Ireland widely distributed a poster for retailers to display prominently in store. Athlone store owner Martin Mulligan said, "Since the NFRN campaign was launched Athlone Town Council has agreed a 2.5 % reduction in business rates for 2014 and Councillor Moran is campaigning hard for a further 2.5% reduction in the business rates for 2015. This is great news for every business in the town as all will benefit." NFRN public affairs manager Deirdre Drennan said: “It’s a much-needed solution to the enormous problem that rates are to small businesses. In its first year of existence in Northern Ireland, the scheme provided an average relief of £735 – that’s a considerable reduction.”
Did you know… A dispute at Kerry Foods Shillelagh, County Wicklow facility, organised by the TEEU following the suspension of a shop steward, could spread to other plants this week, the union has said. According to a TEEU press release, there has been a 'simmering dispute' at the plant since 18 April, 'when the company decided to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of craft workers without any prior discussion, negotiation or agreement with the TEEU'. Arthur Hall, Assistant General Secretary of the TEEU, said that the onus was now on Kerry Foods to "start behaving in a responsible manner and avert a worsening of a situation of their own making." Official pickets were placed at the Shillelagh plant at 5.40am last Wednesday.
Did you know… Aldi is to create 450 new jobs across its store network? Hoping to fill the roles by the year end, the jobs will include managerial roles and staff for new and existing stores. Aldi currently has over 100 stores in Ireland and employs around 2,500 people. The German retailer holds 8% of the supermarket shares in the country and continues to grow, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.
Did you know… The Small Firms Association (SFA) Annual National Conference, sponsored by Rabodirect, takes place at the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin, this morning? The conference features presentations by Larry Murrin, CEO, Dawn Farm Foods, Adrian Crean, Managing Director, McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland, Tim Bicknell, General Manager, RaboDirect Ireland and John Corrigan, Chief Executive, NTMA, as well as a presentation by former rugby great Keith Wood. Under the theme, 'Spotlighting SME Success', the conference will focus on the insights for business on 'achieving growth in a new world whilst keeping rooted in Ireland to the benefit of the Irish economy and jobs'.
Did you know… Blossom Hill has added two new wine products to its range? The company has launched Blossom Hill Sun-Kissed Red and White in an effort to “revive the wine category”. The new additions are designed to appeal to shopper demand for fruitier styles of alcoholic drinks to attract new customers to the wine category. The range has an RRP of approximately €8.50 and is being supported by in-store POS, sampling and TV ads.
Did you know… A former Besco/Londis premises in Waterford is to be renewed by a national supermarket chain? The Ballybricken premises will create around 25 jobs in the area and revive the old premises that closed due to a fire seven years ago. Besco was the first supermarket to open in Waterford city in 1963. Gareth McCarthy of Manor Properties told the Waterford News and Star that the new supermarket chain is taking on a long term lease, but would not identify the chain, other than to confirm it is not Marks & Spencer.
Did you know… The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) said that recent illegal tobacco seizures in Louth show that counterfeiters have the upper hand? NFRN Ireland President Peter Steemers said it is clear that Ireland has a serious problem with illicit tobacco. “This is costing the government large amounts of revenue and it is costing jobs in the retail sector. When it comes to illicit trade our politicians talk the talk but we have yet to see any concrete action taken to deal with the issue.” Steemers said that Government initiatives are well-intentioned but ill thought out, citing plain packaging as an example. He said that these initiatives instead play into the hands of counterfeiters. “This country needs policies based on sound evidence that have been proven to work, not experimental policies such as plain packaging which has led to an increase in illicit trade in Australia and no reduction in smoking rates. We need a pragmatic approach to smoking that will clamp down on the illicit trade and thereby keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors.”
Did you know… Joe Carmody has been appointed as head of Edelman Ireland? Carmody has been with the company for seven years and previously worked with Murray Consultants and Drury Communications. Carmody will now lead a team of over 25 employees in his new role. Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, present in 13 markets and employing over 5,000 people across its network of 67 offices globally. Over the last couple of years in Ireland it has built up its position as a corporate, consumer and public affairs agency and with Carmody’s leadership is now looking to grow within the digital and healthcare sectors building on recent new business wins including Wrigley. Carmody said,”We are also leveraging the scale and expertise that comes with being part of the world’s largest public relations company to offer new products and services which help brands and corporates navigate a fast evolving and digitally driven communications landscape.”
Did you know… Over 400 Dublin retailers have signed a petition to urge the government to change its plans about plain packaging on cigarette packs? Tobacco is worth up to €500 million to the Dublin economy each year in retail sales and retailers are concerned about the impact of plain packaging on their trade. Aaron Massey, Costcutter owner, Rathfarnham told The Herald, “From my perspective as a retailer, our machines in store already are blackened out, with no advertisements. Tobacco accounts for around 10% of our turnover.” Massey said that retailers fear that the measure will lead to an increase in sales on the black market because they will still be selling branded cigarettes.
Did you know… Marks and Spencer saw a 5% drop in its Irish sales in the past year? M&S CEO Marc Bolland said that the company has taken steps in Ireland by closing four stores and they see in Ireland a better trajectory forward. He said, “We've looked at cost management. And also at some innovation on the Irish product that we're having. So, we are treating it absolutely as a positive market.” Bolland said that M&S is determined to stay in Ireland. “We've got good store locations and, therefore, the plan is going forward. We're not going to give any outlook what year we will return to a positive number because it is very much dependent on the environment." Ireland accounts for around a quarter of Marks & Spencer's €1.42 billion international sales.
Did you know… SuperValu will open Ireland’s first in-store gluten-free bakery? The bakery will be opened this summer in Scally’s SuperValu, Clonakilty, Cork and will create five new jobs. Eugene Scally, owner, said the bakery comes as a response to consumer demands for alternatives in baked produce, “Ireland has one of the highest incidences of coeliac disease in the world, and many of our customers are asking for gluten-free alternatives. While we already stock a large range of gluten-free products, we decided that the best way of addressing increasing customer demand was to build our own facility and create our own innovative in-store range.” The new bakery will be a separate unit to the store’s existing bakery to prevent cross-contamination. The Coeliac Society of Ireland were consulted during the planning stages. Scally said that initially the bakery will just be for the store sales, but “once we get it up and running we will look to sending it further afield”. The bakery aims to produce baked goods, ready meals, pies, soups and more.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson