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Weekly Round Up, July 8, 2014

Published on Jul 7 2014 3:35 PM

Weekly Round Up, July 8, 2014

Tesco Ireland has announced a new initiative to redistribute all surplus food from 146 stores to charities through a partnership with the Irish charity app, foodcloud. Foodcloud is a relatively new app set up by two young entrepreneurs, Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, to connect businesses with surplus food to charities in need. The scheme has already been piloted in 18 Tesco stores, where the retail giant donated almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 different charities. Drogheda Homeless Aid has reduced its weekly food costs by an average of 30% due to this new innovation. Christine Heffernan, Corporate Affairs Director Tesco Ireland said, "Even in the most efficient retail operations, there will inevitably be food surplus and we are delighted that through foodcloud's innovative app, we will be able to donate all our surplus food on a daily basis to people that need it."

Fine Gael TDs criticised processor control of the beef industry in last week’s Dail debate on the issue. Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin said: “Factories do not hesitate to impose penalties to reduce the price per kilogram and, naturally, this has an adverse impact on farmers.” Donegal North East Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh said: “We must be proactive in tackling the cartel system among processors here.” Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD James Bannon added: “Factories are refusing to buy stock or delaying purchase for one or two weeks. They are controlling the entire trade by dragging down prices for animals […] The beef barons who control the trade are importing cattle from Poland. I ask the minister to clarify this very serious matter.” Meanwhile Galway East Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton warned: “One can burn the producers only so many times before they leave the industry altogether. One will then be left with a far greater problem.”

Budweiser is set to strengthen its ownership of its brand name in Europe with a recent acquisition in Czech city, Budweis. Anheuser-Busch InBev has bought a brewery called Samson in the southern Czech city of Budweis, German language name of Ceske Budejovice and home to Budejovicky Budvar, a state-owned brewery that makes Budvar, or as it is also known, Budweiser. Hundreds of legal disputes have taken place between the two companies over the Budweiser or Bud trademark. Budvar, which says it holds 380 trademarks in 101 countries, said the acquisition from Cyprus-based firm Taurus One Ltd would not affect its position in trademark disputes. According to a Taurus spokesman, Michal Donath, the company had already sold another firm split off from Samson to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011 including some associated trademarks, but it did not buy the actual brewery until now. No financial details on the deal were given.

Drinks group C&C remains on track to meet current year financial targets of mid-single digit operating growth. At the group’s AGM last week, management told shareholders that its core operations, the cider and lager markets in Ireland and Scotland, delivered a ‘solid performance’ from March to June inclusive. “Comparatives for the second quarter are tougher, but the business remains on track for good earnings growth from both territories,” shareholders were told. In late May, C&C reported its fifth consecutive year of earnings growth, saying pre-tax profits (for the year to the end of February) rose by 6% to €116.2m, revenue jumped by 2.2% to €94.2m and adjusted diluted earnings per share were up by 6% to 29.5c. However, performance in the US has been weak of late.

Value, cleanliness and security are the three needs consumers want met before deciding where to shop, according to new research from global property advisor CBRE. 1,000 Irish consumers were surveyed in the How Consumers Shop Report 2014, which also found that consumers prefer to browse online but buy-in store. This, the study said, is beneficial for smaller shopping centres aiming to compete with the larger regional centres. Another factor highlighted by this research is travel and convenience. Parking and the offer of free parking is highly influential to consumers and 56% would prefer to travel only 11-30 minutes to their preferred shopping location. Additional catering facilities, entertainment options and events are not considered of high importance to the consumer, although this varies with age.

According to the PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) HR director’s survey, 78% of Irish firms are experiencing skills shortages in crucial areas such as IT, however, only 10% identify will address these shortages as a priority in the next 18 months. Income tax levels as well as the cost of living are major factors preventing the recruitment of senior leadership and specialist skills, according to the report. In addition to the skills shortages firms are facing, the report indicates that managing existing employees’ talents could be significantly better. Just 54% of businesses have a clearly defined management programme in place to identify key skills. On a positive note, more than 75% of Ireland’s HR managers are positive about the outlook for the economy in the year ahead, up significantly from 27% last year.

Trading online has just gotten easier for small businesses in Ireland, as they can now apply to the government for digital vouchers. Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte announced the scheme and said that 1,000 vouchers will be available for qualifying businesses through the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEO's) between now and the end of 2014, with more on offer next year. Businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to €2,500 as the Government has allocated €5 million for the rollout of the trading online voucher scheme. Research has found that 7 out of 10 companies said that the voucher application process has already helped them in determining how online trading would fit into their business, while 70% of companies see more customer inquiries and 55% have had more sales. "The results so far are positive, and we can expect these findings to improve over time as businesses involved in the pilot stage embed online trading within their overall business model. My Department will continue to review the scheme and improve it iteratively," Minister Rabbitte said.

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Nicole Balmaine.

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