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Feargal Quinn On The Irish Grocery Scene: A Life In Quotes

By Donna Ahern
Feargal Quinn On The Irish Grocery Scene: A Life In Quotes

Superquinn founder Feargal Quinn, who has passed away at the age of 82, had a more than five decade career in retail, in which he learned a thing or two about doing business.

Here are some choice quotes from the great man, from the pages of Checkout magazine over the years.

“The long-term future of the beef industry depends on whether it can get closer to the consumer. […] It is becoming clear that not only is the real, human butcher still needed by the customer today, he is needed now more than he ever was.”
Feargal Quinn on the need to maintain high meat production standards, May 1980.

“Looking at the Irish grocery scene, sometimes I think it’s fortunate to be in the food trade, as it’s likely to be the last sector really affected by recession. That doesn’t mean it won’t be affected at all, but I’d hate to be in the business of selling purely luxury products. Now there’s trouble.”
Quinn on the health of the Irish grocery trade, October 1985.

“I don’t think the business is any more competitive than it has been in the last 20 years. If you look back at the Five Stars, the Findlaters and the Woolworths, businesses which are no longer around, then you realise that things were just as competitive 20 years ago, perhaps 40 years ago, for all we know.”
Quinn on competition in the Irish grocery space, October 1985.


“We want to encourage customers who shop in one of our stores to shop regularly and to reward them for so doing. The immediate benefit for us is that we are able to readily identify our regular customers – even if they are not big customers – and offer them some reward.”
Quinn on the pioneering launch of SuperClub, June 1993.

“It took us eleven years to obtain planning permission for our Swords store and ten years for Lucan, and while it’s fair to say that we see Clondalkin and Cabinteely as possibilities, we don’t fancy waiting another eleven years to get them.”
Quinn on possible additional Superquinn locations, following the announcement of store openings in Kilkenny, Clonmel and Carlow, December 1993.

“I think I’ve been very fortunate to find people to work with me who are good in the areas I wasn’t very good at.”
Quinn comments on his “shrewd” business approach, March 2002.

“We’ve nobody to blame but ourselves. If Irish retailers aren’t capable of surviving, if they’re better than us, they deserve to get the business.”
Quinn on whether Aldi and Lidl, newcomers to the Irish market, could someday take a sizeable share of the market, March 2002.

“I’m quite delighted that an Irish retail business is taking [Superquinn] over. I would be confident and certainly hopeful that they [Musgrave] would continue the business as a separate entity, and they tell me they intend to do that.”
Quinn tells Checkout of his hopes for the brand following the Musgrave takeover, August 2011.


"Before I started Superquinn, I worked in Lipton’s [a long-departed UK-owned chain], and they used to tell us that when a customer comes into the shop, you may never see her again, so try to get as much money off her as you can. I said to myself from the very beginning, that’s not the way we’re going to operate here.”
Quinn on Superquinn's 'modus operandi', August 2013

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