The convenience retailer highlighted that the investment will see it grow its nationwide presence with the opening of 18 new stores, creating at least 468 new jobs across local communities, bringing the total employment figure at Centra to over 12,000.
As part of the programme, Centra noted that it will also revamp and refresh 35 of its existing stores in 2023.
Centra’s store expansion and investment programme is in addition to the €25 million deployed last year, which included the refresh of 33 outlets across its retail estate.
The year 2022 saw sales of over €1.98 billion achieved for the first time – across 167 million consumer transactions.
According to the company, its customers ‘found value in Centra stores during the pandemic and continue to enjoy the savings Centra offers’, visiting regularly and often for their convenience needs.
Speaking about the announcement, Ian Allen, managing director, Centra, said, “Our in-depth understanding of the role of convenience in shopping decisions saw us adapt to the schedules of our time-poor shopper, meeting their needs at each hour of the day.
“Today’s customers are shopping little and often, and Centra is the perfect solution to meet this trend.”
Lifting Of Covid-19 Restrictions
As 2022 saw the final lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, employees returned to offices in urban locations around the country.
This trend saw a significant uplift in demand for Centra’s convenience offering, with on-the-go breakfast and lunch options increasing sales by 13% on 2021.
Centra noted that its lunchtime deli sales alone increased by almost 11% (10.9%), compared to 2021, as the need for convenient lunches topped the agenda for consumers.
Frank and Honest coffee sales went up by 7%.
In addition, Centra’s bakery also continued to grow in popularity, with sales increasing by 8%, year on year, as on-the-go favourites – such as scones, pastries, rolls and baguettes – continued to fill consumers’ baskets as their convenience foods of choice.
However, 2022 was not without its challenges, as the cost-of-living crisis began to take hold.
Shopping trends showed that consumers made a shift in the latter part of 2022 and were focused more heavily on dining in, with the Centra Freshly Prepared range enjoying 10% growth, year on year.
As consumers continued to pursue value and shop ‘smarter’, Centra highlighted that it also saw demand for its own-brand range increase significantly, with sales growing by 10.3%, with customers who made the switch enjoying savings of up to 50%.
Allen continued, “We are also cognisant that these are challenging times, with increased living costs and rising inflation.
“We’re continuously adapting to meet our customers’ needs, and I would like to thank them for their loyalty, as well as our retail partners in every community across Ireland, for the role they have played in delivering this relentless value and service.”
Same-Day Delivery Trial
In Q1 2023, Centra noted that it expects to expand its same-day delivery trial/partnership with Just Eat and Deliveroo to six further locations.
Customers have shown significant interest in the delivery service, which was rolled out across 34 locations in 2022.