Musgrave Retail Partners NI celebrates with wins at Neighbourhood Retailer Awards

Musgrave Retail Partners NI is celebrating after three stores scooped prestigious honours at this year’s Neighbourhood Retailer awards, held in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

McCabe’s SuperValu, Newtownbutler was named overall Retailer of the Year, after lifting the Neighbourhood Store of the Year (3,501 – 7,000 sq ft) earlier in the evening.

Other winners on the night were, Daly’s SuperValu, Aughnacloy who won Deli of the Year, and Cathcart’s Centra, Magherafelt who picked up the Forecourt of the Year award.

Nigel Maxwell, SuperValu and Centra Sales Director said: “I would like to congratulate all the shortlisted stores and especially the winners. These awards are recognised in the grocery trade as supreme accolades, rewarding professionalism, commitment and ambition, and raising standards throughout the sector and we are proud to support our stores to achieve this.

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Rural Store of the Year Award for Pinkerton’s Day Today

Pinkerton’s Day Today, Plumbridge, has been named as ‘Rural Store of the Year’ by independent trade magazine, The Neighbourhood Retailer. The Day Today store received its reward at the annual Neighbourhood Retailer Awards on Friday 22nd October at a celebratory dinner held in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

This prestigious accolade serves to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of the Day Today store to the sector, in consistently delivering a very strong value for money offering and an impeccable service in the rural community of Plumbridge.

Commenting on the award, store owner, John Pinkerton, paid tribute to the Day Today sales team and his own staff. “I believe that the greatest asset of our store is the dedication of the entire team involved in bringing an impeccable service to our customers. Pinkerton’s is a long established name in Plumbridge and by working with the Day Today team for over eight years, we are always striving towards a common goal, which is providing the best value, service and range for every customer.

We are proud that Pinkerton’s Day Today has been recognised as Rural Store of the Year.

Congratulating Pinkerton’s Day Today, Jim Ratican, Delivered Business Sales Manager Musgrave Wholesale Partners NI said “Musgrave Wholesale Partners are absolutely delighted for everyone at Pinkerton’s Day Today on achieving this fantastic award. This success underlines the passion and enthusiasm that John and his team have in improving and maintaining a consistently high standard in the Plumbridge store.  Furthermore, the Rural Store of the Year category also demands that entrepreneurial retailers go the extra mile and operate at the heart of rural communities, which Pinkerton’s Day Today endorses daily.

This success also recognises the commitment given to developing the Day Today fascia, in supporting the needs of independent retailers with a competitive value for money offering and enabling them to provide a quality service to their local communities.

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Budgens celebrates Halloween with scarily large pumpkins weighing up to 39 stones!

Budgens has secured, what is believed to be, the biggest pumpkins on display in any food retailer in the UK this year. The biggest three, weighing 235, 180 and 125 kilos, will be on display in Budgens stores in Ascot in Berkshire and Sawston and St Ives in Cambridgeshire.

Budgens secured its three largest pumpkins from the 34 entered in to the giant pumpkin ‘weigh in’ in Southport, Lancashire, believed to be the only event of its kind in the UK.  Budgens biggest pumpkin, weighing in at 235 kilos or 39 stone, is an Atlantic Giant pumpkin and was supplied and grown by Jimmy Rimmer. Jimmy is a celery and lettuce grower by trade but enters the giant pumpkin weigh in each year with his home grown Atlantic Giants. The seeds were sown in April and harvest took place in October, following a six month growing period.

Budgens retailers always go to town for seasonal events and this Halloween is no exception. Customers can see the ‘scarily’ large giant pumpkin in stores and amongst other things, customers will be able to enter into a free prize draws to guess the pumpkins weight to win a ‘spookily good’ Budgens food hamper. Other Halloween celebrations include pumpkin carving plus the chance to try a free samples homemade pumpkin soup.

The three Budgens retailers with the biggest pumpkins are working with local charities and recycle the pumpkins once Halloween is over. Budgens and the retailers involved are delighted that they will be put to good use.

Other Budgens retailers are also be selling extra large pumpkins weighing in at 4-6kilos and grown by Budgens specialist grower in Lancashire. The pumpkin market in UK is worth approximately £25 million and demand in the market is up over 30 per cent year on year, however thanks to Budgens supersize pumpkins, Budgens sales are exceeding the market and are up 80 per cent year on year.

Said Dan Quest, Budgens Sales Director, “The Halloween season grows bigger every year and we’re delighted that Budgens pumpkins are the biggest. We’re also thrilled that our retailers use Halloween to further support their local communities, playing a key part in local activities whilst continuing to offer real food for today’s communities.”

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NI Minister congratulates SuperValu Best Kept Award Winners

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA attended the SuperValu Best Kept Town, Village and Housing Area Awards recently along with local SuperValu retailers, to congratulate the winners.

The annual Best Kept Awards are organised by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) and sponsored by SuperValu.

The overall winner this year – the pretty village of Scarva in Co Down – is no stranger to the Best Kept Awards, having won seven accolades since 1978, including the title of Northern Ireland’s Best Kept Town in 2006.

Other winners this year include Coleraine, the Best Kept Large Town; Cookstown, Best Kept Medium Town; Moira, Co Down, Best Kept Small Town; Ahoghill, Co Antrim – named the Best Kept Large Village. The village of Seaforde in Co Down won the Welcome Award, which was introduced recently for newcomers to the scheme. Dungiven, Co Londonderry won the title of Most Improved entry.

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SuperValu to sell €80,000 worth of pumpkins this Halloween

Pumpkin feast at SuperValu for Halloween

This season’s first Irish grown pumpkins went on sale in SuperValu this week in time for the traditional Halloween celebrations. Grown by Oisin O’Gradaigh at Keelings Farms, Dundalk, Co. Louth, the pumpkins range in price from €1 for the ‘small’ size to €4 for the ‘giant’ size.

Originally from Central America, pumpkins are traditionally sold in Ireland during October and November and SuperValu estimates total pumpkin sales in the region of €80,000 this year with 80 per cent supplied from Irish growers.

Health-wise, the bright orange colour of pumpkin indicates that it is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease as well as some degenerative aspects of aging. Popular pumpkin recipes include pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. Pumpkin seeds can also be roasted as a snack.

SuperValu’s commitment to Irish based growers and producers resulted in combined Irish retail sales of €1.2 billion of fresh Irish food in 2009. This commitment to investing in local produce guarantees top quality, fresh Irish fruit and vegetables for consumers

During 2009 Musgrave, owner of the SuperValu brand made a significant contribution to the Irish economy and Irish suppliers with 75 per cent of all products purchased on behalf of all its retail partners, either produced or manufactured in Ireland. This represents total purchases from Irish suppliers in excess of €2.85 billion at retail level, serving to both create and protect Irish jobs and livelihoods and also sustain the Irish community.

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Three Musgrave Retail Partners (NI) stores earn Investors in People Award

Musgrave Retail Partners NI are celebrating the announcement that three stores have been awarded the prestigious Investors in People accolade.

McGoveran’s Centra Malone, Long’s SuperValu Strand Road, Londonderry and Trolan’s SuperValu Portstewart were recently presented with their awards by Nuala Kerr, Director of the Department for Employment and Learning’s Skills and Industry Division.

The Investors in People (IIP) standard is one of the most respected awards for quality that any organisation can achieve and is designed to advance an organisation’s performance through its people. The IIP award is a tried and tested business tool that assists organisations to develop the knowledge and skills of their people, so that the business can achieve its objectives.

Elaine Sinclair, Retail Training and Development Manager said: “I would just like to congratulate the staff of all three stores on this achievement which highlights their commitment and dedication. In each store, everyone has a role to play in producing a quality service. An organisation will only be successful when it recognises the importance of its people and enhances their job satisfaction while extending their skills base. When employees are happy, that transfers quickly to customers. Achieving IIP accreditation is a fantastic accolade and it reflects the hard work and efforts of all involved.:

Musgrave supports its retail partners in achieving IIP and 36 stores have been recognised to date. The standard helps organisations across the UK to improve performance and realise objectives through the management and development of their people.

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Strong sales ‘exceeded expectation’ as Musgrave Wholesale Partners in Northern Ireland impacts on Asian food market

September saw the launch of an extended range of Asian products throughout Musgrave Wholesale Partners in Northern Ireland. Already the six MarketPlace and Holmes branches from the region, are reporting strong sales increases and significant numbers of new customer enquiries.

According to Neil Donnelly, Commercial Manager for NI; “Asian restaurants and takeaways were an under-developed foodservice customer segment within our Northern Ireland business.  Inspired by the success of our colleagues in RoI, we recognised that there was a significant opportunity to increase our penetration of this segment and grow our sales by obtaining a better understanding of the market and adapting our foodservice strategy accordingly.

From research conducted with existing and prospect customers, three requirements were identified to significantly grow market share; authentic product, value for money and real expertise. Neil elaborates: “As a result, a new range of 250 authentic Asian lines has been introduced to each branch and with over 100 of these products imported from the Far East; the NI business has been enabled to offer best-in-market wholesale prices. We also recognised the need for a new level of expertise within our business and conducted a comprehensive engagement programme with each of the branches, to equip members of staff to service this important customer segment.

The impact of the initial launch has definitely exceeded expectation, as each of the six branches consistently reported strong levels of footfall from the new customer segment, with many new trading relationships formed. The sales of Asian products have reflected this, as already after one month, sales to Asian restaurants and takeaways increased by 293 per cent.

Contributing to this strong performance has been a communications plan that has spoken to Asian customers in their own language – literally – with all direct mail print materials and advertising translated to Chinese to maximise cut through.

Within each branch, dedicated sections have been created in prominent locations to accommodate the full range of products in one convenient area for customers and are distinguished by bulk displays for key lines, Asian theatre and point of sale.

Michael Stafford, MarketPlace Director, concludes: “this has been a real collaborative journey for us with Trading, Operations and Marketing working closely to successfully launch our new range and set us on our way to becoming a serious player within the NI market.”

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Northern Ireland Healthy School Awards

Action Cancer and Centra have presented their eighth annual health awards to seventy-nine schools across Northern Ireland.

The health-conscious schools were acknowledged for their innovative approaches to health education for pupils, including extra-curricular exercise programmes, healthy meals and cancer awareness projects. The number of schools receiving awards is up almost 30 per cent on last year, showing a marked improvement in the standard of health promotion in Northern Ireland schools, Action Cancer says.

The awards are part of Action Cancer’s Health Action initiative, which offers a range of health promotion roadshows for schools and colleges, and is sponsored by Centra. Over 300,000 young people have taken part in Health Action since 2003.

Developed specifically for Northern Ireland schools, Health Action aims to educate young people on the importance of a healthy diet, care in the sun and the need to take exercise to help reduce future incidences of cancer and save lives. The award-winning programme is supported by Centra retailers across the province, who have raised more than £600,000 to fund Health Action over the past seven years.

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New Budgens in Yeovil claims UK first

A brand new Budgens forecourt has opened in Yeovil this week and will be the first in the UK to offer an exciting media screen system at its petrol pumps.

The forecourt in Yeovil previously operated as a 930 sq ft Spar but has subsequently been knocked down and transformed into a 2,100 sq ft Budgens store. The BP forecourt offers 10 new filling pumps, each with the new German manufactured media screen, which will welcome customers and display various information including Budgens store offers.

Offering real food for today’s communities is key to the Budgens brand and the new store will offer its customers a wide range of products and services including; hot food, coffee, freshly baked items, fresh and chilled produce, wine and beer (including a local Scrumpy), lottery, ATM, car wash – all available 24 hours, seven days a week, with ample parking for Budgens customers.

Entrepreneur and owner Edward Seaton, who runs the family business, which has been operating since 1929, said, “The new store is fantastic, the staff are 100 per cent behind us and, with Budgens as a partner, we’re aiming high. We want our Budgens store to be more than a place to pick up a few items along with fuel, our quest is to become the local store of choice for customers to undertake their full weekly shop in White Post.

Say’s Dan Quest, Budgens Sales Director, “We’re delighted that Edward Seaton has chosen to partner Budgens. This new store fits perfectly with the Budgens brand and we’re proud that it’s leading the way with new systems. The new media screens, the first of its type to be used in the UK, will benefit all our Budgens customers at this new store.

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Budgens Retailers get behind British Food Fortnight

Budgens retailers got behind the ‘grow your own’ campaign (to grow fresh herbs from seed), launched by Budgens to coincide with its seventh year as sponsor of British Food Fortnight, as well as coming up with some ideas of their own to celebrate the annual event.

Says Dan Quest, Budgens Sales Director: “This is yet another great opportunity for Budgens retailers to link up with their local primary schools and really bring to life the Budgens brand essence of ‘real food for today’s communities.”

Budgens, Bruton teamed up with their local primary school for the campaign, which culminated in 60 of the children, together with their friends and families, coming along to the store for prize presentations by the local mayor.

Kanna Mahunda of Budgens, Stoneleigh invited children from the local school to create a poster with pictures of their favourite British foods. All pictures are now being displayed in store and the winners were presented with their prizes by the local mayor in the store.

Paul and Michelle Gravelle, who have Budgens stores in Sawston and Sawbridgeworth, invited children from the local school, together with their teachers and assistants, for a store visit. Says Michelle: “It’s great to share about Budgens, local and British food and to give the children an understanding of where our food comes from.” The Gravelles hosted local producers in store during the fortnight, giving customers a chance to sample their products.

David and Lynette Knight of Budgens, Hassocks ran a bunting design competition with children at their local school, inviting them to design bunting showing their favourite British food. Says Lynette: “The aim of the competition was to highlight where their food comes from and what we produce here in Britain.” The school’s headteacher, Eileen Sharpe, said: “Our children learn about sustainability as part of the curriculum and we are very pleased to support a Hassocks business that promotes local food producers.” Following the presentation in the school hall, parents and children had the opportunity to meet local suppliers and taste their products, organised by Budgens Hassocks. Local products included sausages, chutneys, soup and cheese.

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