Budgens opens new store every month

Six months into 2010 Budgens reports that, on average, a new store has opened every month under the Budgens fascia, as independent retailers make Budgens their partner of choice to drive their businesses forward in these tough economic times. The new sites include Ruislip, Bexhill, Bruton, Burwell, Didcot and Wilton.

Existing Budgens retailers have bought the three stores in Ruislip, Bexhill and Bruton, reinforcing their belief in the Budgens brand.  Ruislip is Visanathan Yoganathan’s sixth store with Budgens. Jeremy Symonds, who bought the store in Bruton, already owns another Budgens as well as three Londis sites and Bexhill is Raj and Shanti Selvarajah’s third Budgens store.

The Manchett family’s expertise, on the other hand, is in the motor trade, and they chose to enter the convenience retail sector with Budgens as their retail partner when they opened Budgens Burwell.

John Mason’s new company Peregrine Retail has opened two new Budgens sites in as many months in Didcot and Wilton.

Some of the store openings weren’t without physical challenges. For example, the Bexhill store, previously a lighting shop, proved a particular challenge for the Budgens store development team, faced with a site that was not only in an English heritage area but virtually on a split level. The new store in the English seaside town is now forecast to take £25,000 a week, from a standing start. The Didcot store also started trading from a standing start having previously been a cycling shop. Sales in the first week of trading topped £28,000, far exceeding the predicted £22,000.

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Budgens opens in Ruislip

Budgens retailer Visanathan Yoganathan (‘Yogan’) has given a new lease of life to a store in Ruislip, that used to trade as Budgens until it closed last year. He invested in a full store redevelopment and now his focus on value, customer service and offering a point of difference have paid dividends with weekly turnover reaching £28,000, just a matter of weeks after the store opening, well ahead of the £21,000 a week forecast for the year end, and despite strong competition in the town, including a Tesco Express just two minutes walk away.

‘Yogan’, who owns other Budgens stores in Queensway, College Park, Radlett, Watford and Weyhill bought the 1,900 sq ft store in Ruislip earlier this year and officially reopened the store as Budgens at the end of April. The launch was celebrated with a free bottle of wine for the first 100 customers and money off vouchers were included in the consumer leaflets distributed locally prior to the launch, offering customers £2 off when spending over £10 in store for the first four weeks.

As with all Budgens stores, there is a strong fresh offering in the new-look store, which consists of 3m produce, 2m chilled drinks, 1m fresh meat and 8m dairy. With a focus on offering ‘real food for today’s communities’, fresh food now accounts for a staggering 48 per cent of the store’s turnover.

A key element of the refit also included moving the kiosk from the front of the store, where it blocked out all the natural light, to the side. The result being that it has opened up the store considerably and the store is now much brighter and customers comment that it also appears much bigger.

A 7.5m run of chilled beers/wines was introduced, increasing the range by about 20 per cent and adding a chilled element for the first time. There are now more multipacks of beers and more promotional activity to support the range.

‘Yogan’ is no stranger to competition. His Budgens store in Radlett is just six shops away from a Tesco Express, but ‘Yogan’s’ clear strategy to focus on value, customer service and points of difference has worked in one store and he’s determined to make it work at Ruislip too.

The value message is prominent in all the point of sale as well as the consumer leaflets, which are distributed every three weeks through the Royal Mail. Previously the store had no promotional ends, now there are three – two dedicated to grocery and one to beers/wines/spirits.

His clear focus on customer service is evident in his team of staff, who he transferred from a Budgens store that he had in nearby Harrow Wealdstone (and has subsequently sold to a Londis retailer). He invests in training for his staff and his store in Radlett was the first in the group to attain Investors in People.

‘Yogan’ also looks to offer a point of difference to the competition, and with Budgens Ruislip that’s hot food to go and coffee. The store is next to a train station, so the ‘grab and go’ offer is ideal for commuters, with a selection of pies, pasties, rolls and coffee to tempt them on their way to and from work.

So far the store’s weekly turnover of £28,000 has been achieved without Payzone or the lottery. Payzone has just gone in and the lottery has been approved, but waiting to be implemented. These are expected to drive sales further forward and will be heralded with another customer leaflet drop.

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SuperValu recognised for outstanding dedication to Irish Fresh Food

SuperValu Ireland’s number one independent supermarket network has been acknowledged for its dedication to Irish Fresh Food at the annual Checkout ‘Best in Fresh’ Awards, organised by leading grocery trade magazine Checkout, in association with Glanbia.  

SuperValu scooped the award, ahead of all other retail groups in Ireland for the outstanding support it provides to Irish suppliers, Irish food and Irish jobs by striving to sustain a vibrant and innovative food industry.

Commenting on the award, Donal Horgan, Managing Director, SuperValu said; “SuperValu is delighted with this award, as it recognises our support of Irish fresh food and identifies the standard of fresh produce across all of our 191 SuperValu stores. SuperValu is a business that listens to what the Irish consumer wants and given the choice, we know people want to buy Irish. At SuperValu we allow them to do this at a competitive price. Across the entire range, 75% per cent of everything sold by SuperValu, is either sourced or produced in Ireland – representing a commitment to Irish suppliers of more than €1.63 billion.

Speaking at the awards, John Ruddy, Editor, Checkout magazine said “In a market where indigenous producers are increasingly challenged by cheaper imports, SuperValu’s commitment to supporting Irish fresh food suppliers is truly admirable. It is clear that consumers have a preference for Irish-sourced and Irish-produced goods; however, to ensure that Ireland retains a viable and sustainable food industry, this consumer preference needs to be backed up by the retail sector. On this front, SuperValu continues to deliver with sacrificing value for money.

The Checkout ‘Best in Fresh’ awards are a major event in the Irish retail calendar, recognising genuine excellence in the provision of fresh food across all categories.

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Londis reports best ever pre Christmas sales

Londis today announced that its pre sales for Christmas confectionery and grocery are the strongest experienced throughout the company’s 51 year history.

Overall a larger amount of products have been ordered by a greater number of retailers, as Londis continues to support its retailers and offer its customers ‘all you need for everyday living’. Specifically, Londis’ retail partners placed 853 orders in total, smashing last year’s record of 840. This fantastic result is all the more significant given that retailers’ had a shorter period of time to complete their orders due to the impending World Cup, plus the fact that the Budget (22 June) fell during this time.

Despite a tough economic climate, and the fact that we are only half way through the year, Londis retailers are clearly confident that everyone will be stocking up for Christmas 2010, demonstrating confidence in both Londis (who have improved delivery efficiency to ensure that 2010 will be the most streamlined and proficient yet) and also the market.

Says Paul Courtney, Londis Sales Director, “These strong figures highlight the confidence that our retailers have in both the Londis range and promotions we are offering. It also speaks volumes about the overall convenience market and I’m delighted that Londis is leading the way with increased sales.

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Budgens scores with fruit promotions

Budgens has been running three spectacular fruit promotions over the last fortnight and as a result punnet sales have reached almost 300,000 for the three products over the two week period.

These leading deals in the High Street included Budgens English strawberries, 454g on sale at half price, £1.99, and when customers purchased a punnet they also received a pot of Budgens Double Cream, 150g, absolutely free; plus 250g punnets of Budgens cherries and 500g punnets of Budgens seedless grapes were on offer for just £1.

Total fruit sales for Budgens over the last fortnight were up over 26 per cent year on year and more than 25 per cent ahead of forecast sales.

Says Phil Smith, Budgens Managing Director: “We know that customers are looking for value and Budgens is committed to supporting its retail partners, enabling them to deliver excellent value to shoppers. These figures prove the quality of both Budgens own brand products and the seasonal promotions on offer in our stores.”

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Gildernew praises SuperValu’s support of Big Bus

The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has visited the Action Cancer Big Bus to call on women in rural communities to use the onboard breast screening service and to praise SuperValu’s support of the state-of-the-art mobile unit.

Ms Gildernew said; “In bringing the Big Bus to rural communities across the North Action Cancer is providing a vital service, which is saving lives through screening and health promotion. I would urge women to attend the unit for screening and health checks when it is in their area.”

Ms Gildernew added; “I would also like to say how impressed I am with SuperValu’s support of the Big Bus. This is a shining example of how local businesses can partner with community initiatives and really make a difference.

SuperValu and Action Cancer have worked together in support of the charity’s mobile cancer services since 2001 and in 2006 SuperValu helped Action Cancer pay for and launch the Big Bus screening and health promotion unit. SuperValu stores have raised over £800,000 for the Big Bus since it was launched.

SuperValu Marketing Manager Briege McGinty commented; “SuperValu is proud to support Action Cancer’s Big Bus as it travels to communities across Northern Ireland. SuperValu retailers in towns and villages throughout the country do their bit by fundraising and hosting Big Bus visits at their stores, because they see the number of customers and staff affected by cancer.

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MPK Garages partners with Londis

MPK Garages has signed a three year supply agreement with Londis to supply up to 28 of its forecourt sites commencing June 2010. (MPK has over 40 sites and is number six in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 indies list.)

Previously supplied by Palmer & Harvey, up to 28 MPK sites will now be supplied by Londis in the first six months of the new trading agreement.

The sites are predominantly located in East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire borders with a number also in the South of England. Store sizes currently range from 400 sq ft up to 1,500 sq ft. Fuel is supplied, in the main, by Total and also by Texaco.

As part of the mobilisation Londis and MPK will be working together to redevelop the stores and improve the retail offer, including Londis branding (where appropriate). Focusing on offering customers ‘all you need for everyday living’, this will include a stronger fresh offer, plus beers/wines/spirits and the introduction of key elements of the Londis own brand range, which offer shoppers quality and value for money, while building on the core strengths of the existing MPK offer.

Paul Kershaw, director MPK Garages says: “A key strategy of our business is to now improve the retail offer and this requires that we partner with a strong symbol group or groups. We put the business out to tender and the strongest offer to benefit both the company and the operators came from Londis and I’m delighted to be doing business with them.

Paul Courtney, Londis sales director added: “We’re delighted that MPK Garages chose to partner with Londis and look forward to building a long term relationship with them, developing their forecourt offer over the coming years. This is a great step in continuing to build on the Londis multiple account partnership business.

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Musgrave Group reports satisfactory sales in Ireland and an increase in UK sales

Musgrave Group plc, partner to entrepreneurial food retailers and foodservice professionals across Ireland, the UK and Spain today (17 June 2010) reported its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2009.

The Group reported overall sales of €4.5 billion, down 3 per cent on 2008 on a constant currency exchange rate basis, with profit before tax of €70 million, down 7 per cent. Despite the difficult trading conditions, net debt was reduced from €86.2 million to €59.0 million.

Commenting, Chris Martin, Group Chief Executive Officer, Musgrave Group, said, “This is a satisfactory performance and positions the Group well to support our retailers through the challenges of 2010. We have successfully adapted our strategy to manage a tough and challenging trading environment in all our markets, and we are pleased to report a satisfactory sales performance in Ireland and an increase in UK sales.

In Ireland, the challenges have been significant. In 2009 the grocery market and food service markets declined by 7 per cent and in excess of 20 per cent respectively. Overall sales in Ireland were €2.7 billion, 7 per cent down on 2008. However, by delivering lower prices to the consumer, through re-structuring our business, increasing support to our retail partners and through their investment in their stores, our SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak brands outperformed the market. This performance is testament to the strength of the ongoing partnership between Musgrave and its retail partners coupled with their enterprise and investments.

Our commitment to continue to support Irish suppliers has been a central part of our strategy. 75 per cent of everything sold in SuperValu and Centra was purchased from Irish suppliers during the year. In 2010, our retail partners, who own their stores and live and work in their local communities, are starting to see volume growth again.

In the UK, our businesses in Northern Ireland and Great Britain made good progress delivering sales of £1.4 billion, a growth of 3 per cent. 2009 saw the completion of major system and supply chain projects, as well as the successful integration of J&J Haslett. Our retail brands SuperValu and Centra in Northern Ireland and Budgens and Londis in GB recorded good performances. Our business model for independent, community-centred retail is gaining traction in the UK market.

In Spain we have continued with our programme of selling our stores to independent retailers. By the close of 2009 over 50 per cent of all Spanish retail sales were to independent retailers. The impact of this, together with food deflation resulted in a decline in sales of 3 per cent to €190 million.
 

Outlook

“Although the trading environment continues to be tough, our focus is on supporting our retail partners to deliver real consumer value and to provide a different and better shopping experience for consumers. Our business model is robust and having continued to reduce our debt and invest in infrastructure, we are confident in the long term future of the business. The plans we have in place will ensure Musgrave and our independent retailers emerge stronger from the recession with strengthened businesses and a platform for future growth.

For more information on the performance of our retail brands, check out our online annual review.

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Local businessman opens new Londis store in Shanklin, Isle of Wight

Tim Phelps is the proud owner of a new Londis store in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight and has been trading successfully for six weeks now.

Tim not only has a new store but has taken a totally new business direction, having previously owned a holiday park and pubs on the Isle of Wight. The Phelps family have owned the building, located on Shanklin High Street, for a number of years and it has operated as both a Post Office sorting office and the local Job Centre in the past. Recently the family decided to convert the ground floor of the property into a 980 sq ft shop and the upper floors into flats and Tim and his business partner Michael, decided to run the new store.

Tim spoke to a number of symbol groups and back in August 2009 he had his first meeting with Londis Retail Sales Manager, Simon Burnett. After careful consideration, which included Simon arranging for the pair to attend two Londis cluster meetings and meet local Londis retailers, Charles and Linda Brading, who were only too happy to answer any questions and explain the benefits of operating as a Londis retailer, they decided to open the store with the Londis brand.

Working with the Londis store development the project started at the beginning of April and the store open to the latest standards on April 23.

With opening hours of 7am -11pm seven days a week, the store has two checkouts and a focus on fresh produce. The chilled dairy units have specifically been designed with taller back shelves, in order to bring the colour of the products to life. The store also offers a chilled wine range and local produce including bakery items and fruit and vegetables.

This retailer has joined the Brand Essentials from day one, with a full Broadband Londis Manager Epos system. Charles and Linda Brading have also visited Tim’s store to help and guide since the store launched.

Tim Phelps said “I’m delighted with the end result and have a fantastic looking Londis store, both internally and externally.

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Musgrave Retail Partners NI commended at BITC Awards for Community Impact

Musgrave Retail Partners NI has won another top accolade for its support of local charity Action Cancer – the third in as many months.

The Business in the Community Regional Recognition Awards, organised to showcase Northern Ireland’s most responsible businesses, were presented recently at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. Musgrave was Highly Commended in the Local Community Impact category, which acknowledges companies that demonstrate a positive impact on communities by working to address local issues and improve people’s lives.

The award was bestowed on Musgrave Retail Partners NI for its two partnerships with Action Cancer – Centra’s support of the charity’s school health programme Health Action, and SuperValu’s programme of support for the Action Cancer Big Bus screening and health promotion unit. To date a total of £1.4 million has been raised for the charity by independent SuperValu and Centra retailers across Northern Ireland. 300,000 young people have been educated on healthy lifestyles by taking part in the Health Action project for schools and 17,000 people have attended the Action Cancer Big Bus for screening and cancer prevention services.

The news of the latest gong comes a matter of weeks after Musgrave Retail Partners NI’s success at the Ulster Grocer Awards, where the company won the Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiative/Charity Partnership award for its support of Action Cancer and a separate Belfast Business Award for the same partnerships. Musgrave Retail Partners NI has won a total of 24 CSR awards since 2003.

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