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In past years a big figure posted by Ireland’s leading community supermarket network would be worthy of note mainly by the business press. Today, however, the financial experts won’t be the only ones interested in SuperValu’s announcement of retail sales of €2.1 billion in 2012.

In the teeth of still very tough economic circumstances for Ireland, the public as a whole is likely to be aware that this figure means a lot to them as well: a boost for local jobs and sales of Irish produce for a start.

It’s also gratifying for our business as a whole that a strategy we promote so strongly — supporting locally owned and operated businesses — is thriving at this difficult time. Much of that comes down to our retail partners and their deep roots in the communities they serve. We also believe that supporting local businesses, working with local producers and buying Irish or local goods and thereby circulating more money locally than internationally owned companies is a good business model. And today’s figures indicate that it is clearly good for our business. It differentiates us, it builds the brand. It encourages customer loyalty.

But it’s also good for the wider economy, on which everyone relies. Bearing that in mind keeps us focused. It’s great that SuperValu is ahead of the market. But now the focus must be on staying there.

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