Criminal gangs are making a profit of 900% on illegal cigarettes, reports the Irish Mirror. Gangs can buy a packet of 20 cigarettes, created specifically for the black market, for just 50c and sell it for €5, the paper reported. It’s estimated one in every four packs of cigarettes sold in Ireland has been smuggled into the country illegally, costing the exchequer around €250 million a year.
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C&C Group has reportedly been challenged by one of its shareholders to address its growth strategy. According to The Irish Times, US-based investment firm Orange Capital, which holds a 4.9% stake in the business, has called for a 'root and branch review' of the group's strategy, as well as the 'immediate disposal' of its underperforming US business. In response, C&C Group said, “We have an ongoing dialogue with all of our major shareholders and the issues they raise are closely considered by the board."
Former Superquinn trading director Damien Carolan has been appointed by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as an advisor on matters relating to the grocery industry. Carolan's appointment comes in advance of the forthcoming Grocery Regulations, which are currently being finalised by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The Commission will have responsibility for promoting and enforcing compliance with the regulations once they come into effect.
Weetabix saw a slight dip in global sales last year, according to financial data from owner Bright Food. According to the Chinese-owned company, increased competition from the discounters and changing breakfast habits saw Weetabix’s turnover for 2014 drop 4% from the previous year to £352 million (approximately €474 million).
Craft beer producer Galway Bay Brewery has announced profits of €430,000 in the year ending October 2014. According to The Sunday Times, the owners of the company, know for its Full Sail Ale and Buried at Sea beers, Jason O’Connell and Niall Walsh shared €380,000 in remuneration for the same year.
Following the news that it will start paying all staff the Living Wage in both Ireland and the UK mainland, Lidl has announced that it will extend the new policy to its Northern Irish operations. Its workers in Northern Ireland are now set to earn a minimum of £8.20 an hour.
Galway-based healthcare product distributor, Lifes2good has signed a deal with US retail giants Target and Walmart to carry its Viviscal range of hair supplements. According to The Sunday Times, the stores will stock the Vivascal in 4,000 to 5,000 outlets between them, and the deal is expected to help Lifes2good meet its target sales growth of 28% to 30% this year.
High-end retailer The Butler’s Pantry is now selling Northern Irish hand-churned butter brand, Abernathy Butter in its network of 10 outlets in the Dublin area. The retailer is now stocking Abernathy’s range of three variants; original, smoked and, dulse and sea salt.
SHS Group has reported dividends of £9 million (approximately €12 million) despite a slump in both sales and profits. In the year ending January 2nd, the group made a pre-tax profit of just £17.1 million (€22 million), down from the £19.4 million (€26 million) of the previous year, The Sunday Times reported.
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