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Hello again to all of you who were in attendance mid-June for the official opening of SuperValu’s new store in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. We do hope you enjoyed it. And a big thank-you (again) to Marty Morrissey, the popular RTE TV and GAA sports presenter for doing the honours.

It’s encouraging that new stores can open in a period of economic difficulty — and even more so when they don’t stint on quality. The Miltown opening offered, alongside the expected fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish offering, expert butchers and exclusive breads from its own in-store bakery department. And if you fancy a beer with your curry or Thai, or a wine with your salad or casserole, there’s a lot of choice there too – along with a nearby sports complex, children’s playground and 132 car parking spaces.

And it’s not just in Clare that SuperValu is making news. Readers near The Glen, New Road, Kinsale are probably aware that SuperValu’s new store in that area will open next year and – even though it’s pretty big in its own right – will be part of a larger development. That development includes a 17,000 sq ft Primary Care Centre. The existing SuperValu store will become a Centra so both the weekly and the quick shop will be catered for.

As ever, though, it’s the underlying message we want to highlight here. The Kinsale store owner Michael Smith is expanding his store due to market demand. That expansion in turn will involve new jobs and, as a knock-on effect, further economic activity. The same goes for the Miltown Malbay opening.

Now we’re not going to proclaim a new dawn for the Irish economy just yet. But we do believe that, even at a time of relative difficulty for many shoppers, shopping habits may adjust but choice, quality and local supply and availability still matter – and that offering all of these is good for the economy. These new openings indicate that quite a few shoppers agree with us.

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