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Martin Rules Out Musgrave Return To Mainland GB

Musgrave Group's Chris Martin has said that the retailer is unlikely to return to mainland UK in the foreseeable future.

The chief executive of the retail group, which is awaiting competition authority approval for the sale of its Budgens and Londis UK convenience businesses to Booker, told Checkout magazine that, “I don't think the dynamics are there for us to go back into Britain. Our focus is very much around the Ireland operation, and making sure that we can really build on the success that we've had.”

Martin added that one of the main reasons that Musgrave chose to exit the UK was due to scale. “Unless you've got real scale in the market, its difficult to compete with the big multiples out there.” In addition, he added that the ongoing UK price war has meant that “independent retailers are a much smaller percentage of the market”.

In relation to the group’s Irish business, Martin hinted that that the retail group has long term plans to transfer its company-operated Superquinn outlets to independent owners.

"At the end of the day, our business is about independent retailing," he told Checkout. "There will come a point in the long distant future about [company operated sites] becoming available, and you have to put that in the context of retailers having access to finance and so on."

Currently, the 24 former Superquinn sites, which transferred to the SuperValu name in early 2014, are operated by Musgrave Operating Partners Ireland. Martin noted that in the year and a half since the name change, managers at the stores in question have "taken ownership" of their outlets.

© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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