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Musgrave Group plc, partner to entrepreneurial food retailers and foodservice professionals across Ireland, the UK and Spain today announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2010.

The Group reported overall sales of €4.4 billion, down 3 per cent on 2009 with profit before tax of €72 million, an increase of 3 per cent. In addition, the company eliminated its start of the year debt of €59 million to close the year with net cash of €21 million.

Commenting on the results, Chris Martin, Group Chief Executive Officer, Musgrave Group, said, “Despite the economic crisis in Ireland and a very tough trading environment in all our markets, we delivered a good set of results in 2010.”

“We have responded to the unprecedented challenges by completing the first year of our transformation programme which is about delivering value for the consumer and our partners, simplifying our business and reducing our costs. In 2010, through improved ways of working with retailers and suppliers, we delivered lower prices and an enhanced product offer for shoppers. I am confident that this transformation programme is strengthening the business and providing a platform for the long term.”

Investing in Jobs and Local Economies
“A core part of our strategy is a resolute commitment to investing in local communities and local SMEs who are the backbone of the real economy and key to recovery and growth. We partner with more than 3,300 local retailers across Ireland, the UK and Spain and together employ in excess of 50,000 people. In Ireland alone, we support over 1,000 SMEs who are both creating and protecting in excess of 30,000 Irish jobs in the farm, food and retail sectors. This investment in the real economy and our commitment to supporting local employment and local suppliers remain a compelling point of difference for consumers.”

“We are constantly innovating so that all our brands remain fresh and competitive and we are pleased with how our brands in all our markets performed in 2010. In Ireland, SuperValu rolled out Real Rewards, the very first nationwide loyalty card for an independent retailer. SuperValu Real Rewards already has more than 670,000 users with 55% of all sales now going through the loyalty card. Centra continues to lead the way in convenience by bringing a different and innovative value offer to the market through its promotions and its rounded pricing. And we are continuing to bring the MarketPlace brand to our cash and carry outlets with the most recent successful launch in Galway last November.”

“In Great Britain, more than 200 retailers joined the Londis brand, bringing the total number of stores to 1,784 at year end. We opened a new store every month under the Budgens brand and last December we divested to independent ownership the first of 13 Somerfield stores acquired in 2009.”

“In Northern Ireland, the Mace brand was re-launched with more than 50 re-branded stores and 20 new store openings leading to the creation of 110 jobs. In Spain, we successfully divested eight stores to independent retailers and at the end of 2010 only 26 stores remain in Musgrave ownership.”

Outlook

“Having seen some recovery in Quarter 4 of 2010, the economies of each of the countries in which we operate have tightened since the start of 2011. Consumers are now facing into the next phase of the recession with rising fuel prices, higher taxes and uncertain employment prospects. We are anticipating that the rest of this year will be tough for the grocery market and the trading environment will remain difficult. However, we are confident that our brands are adapting well to the budget-conscious consumer, that our retail partners who own their stores are bringing a different and better offer to their local communities and that our brands continue to attract new retailers.”

“We are strengthening our business, sharpening our offer to consumers and supporting our partners. This response to the recession is laying the foundation for the business to continue to grow through recruitment, expansion and acquisition. It is building a platform for the future which will lead to stronger and better businesses for Musgrave and our partners.”

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