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Centra, the number one independent convenience retail chain in Ireland, has announced today that it will add 17 new stores and over 500 jobs to its network in 2011, 200 of these being created in greenfield sites. This represents an investment of €23 million by Centra’s retail partners, reflecting their confidence in the brand.

Speaking today at Centra’s national conference, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, disclosed to over 470 Centra retail partners in attendance that Centra recorded €1.4 billion in sales in 2010. In addition, he outlined that Centra continues to outperform the market (-2 per cent versus the rest of the convenience market at -6.5 per cent), growing at twice the rate of its nearest competitor and serving over 3.5 million customers per week.

Commenting at the conference, Martin Kelleher said, “We are delighted to be in a position to announce that Centra will create almost 500 jobs this year. It reflects the faith our retail partners have in the Centra brand and reasserts our position as the convenience market leader. Local entrepreneurs across Ireland hold the key to our economic recovery as today’s job announcement illustrates.”

Despite a difficult trading environment, Centra has recorded a satisfactory sales performance. This can be attributed to the continued success of our brand, our community retail model and our market leading value offer and our innovative, exciting and appealing consumer promotions. As our retail partners own their own stores and operate in their local community, they have been quick to adapt to the budget conscious consumer in order to provide the best convenient shopping experience to the public, no matter where they live in Ireland.”

In 2010, Centra invested over €65 million in delivering value to consumers. These savings have been driven home to consumers through its everyday low pricing strategy, in-store promotions and investment in its Own Brand range. Due to these special offers, price reductions and promotions, Centra is credited by the NCA, as being the cheapest convenience store in the market.

Added Kelleher, “Value is at the heart of the Centra ethos – weekly offers combined with big brand price cuts, simplification of pricing at the deli and hot food counters, Centra’s own brand range and its keenly priced ‘Good to Go’ offering ensures busy, budget-conscious consumers are provided with best value offering, while maintaining the highest standards of quality and choice.”

Centra remains committed to local employment and sourcing from Irish producers. Centra now employs 15,000 staff across the country, making it one of Ireland’s biggest employers. Centra also purchased over €1 billion of Irish goods, including a total of €140 million worth of Irish fresh food, in 2010, with 75 per cent of all products sold in store sourced or manufactured in Ireland.

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