Centra to add 500 new jobs and invest €23 million in new stores in 2011

Centra, the number one independent convenience retail chain in Ireland, has announced today that it will add 17 new stores and over 500 jobs to its network in 2011, 200 of these being created in greenfield sites. This represents an investment of €23 million by Centra’s retail partners, reflecting their confidence in the brand.

Speaking today at Centra’s national conference, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, disclosed to over 470 Centra retail partners in attendance that Centra recorded €1.4 billion in sales in 2010. In addition, he outlined that Centra continues to outperform the market (-2 per cent versus the rest of the convenience market at -6.5 per cent), growing at twice the rate of its nearest competitor and serving over 3.5 million customers per week.

Commenting at the conference, Martin Kelleher said, “We are delighted to be in a position to announce that Centra will create almost 500 jobs this year. It reflects the faith our retail partners have in the Centra brand and reasserts our position as the convenience market leader. Local entrepreneurs across Ireland hold the key to our economic recovery as today’s job announcement illustrates.”

Despite a difficult trading environment, Centra has recorded a satisfactory sales performance. This can be attributed to the continued success of our brand, our community retail model and our market leading value offer and our innovative, exciting and appealing consumer promotions. As our retail partners own their own stores and operate in their local community, they have been quick to adapt to the budget conscious consumer in order to provide the best convenient shopping experience to the public, no matter where they live in Ireland.”

In 2010, Centra invested over €65 million in delivering value to consumers. These savings have been driven home to consumers through its everyday low pricing strategy, in-store promotions and investment in its Own Brand range. Due to these special offers, price reductions and promotions, Centra is credited by the NCA, as being the cheapest convenience store in the market.

Added Kelleher, “Value is at the heart of the Centra ethos – weekly offers combined with big brand price cuts, simplification of pricing at the deli and hot food counters, Centra’s own brand range and its keenly priced ‘Good to Go’ offering ensures busy, budget-conscious consumers are provided with best value offering, while maintaining the highest standards of quality and choice.”

Centra remains committed to local employment and sourcing from Irish producers. Centra now employs 15,000 staff across the country, making it one of Ireland’s biggest employers. Centra also purchased over €1 billion of Irish goods, including a total of €140 million worth of Irish fresh food, in 2010, with 75 per cent of all products sold in store sourced or manufactured in Ireland.

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Partnering to Grow with Budgens

A petrol station in Yarnton, which has been operating for more than 100 years but was in danger of closing, has been taken over by the Fraser Group and transformed into a hub of the community. The Fraser Group has bucked the trend of petrol forecourt closures by providing a new forecourt site with a Budgens store, an expanded post office, off licence and Subway franchise as part of the £1 million project.

Says Dan Quest, Budgens Sales Director: “The Fraser Group is an established business with lots of experience in forecourt retailing. I’m delighted they’ve chosen to partner with Budgens.

This is the Fraser Group’s first forecourt site with a Budgens store (they own six forecourt sites altogether). Founded in 1954, the Fraser Group is operated by brothers Robert and Hugh, Robert’s son Nick and now Hugh’s son Jonathan, who has joined the family business as store manager for Yarnton.

Says Jonathan: “With so many petrol stations closing, our business model has completely changed. Fuel is not the prime reason why people come here. We’ve had great support from Budgens every step of the way and customer feedback has been great.

The rebuild took two years in planning and included transforming an 850 sq ft shop into a 2,950 sq ft state-of-the-art Budgens store with longer opening hours, opening 6am till 11pm every day.  As with all Budgens stores, there is a big focus on chilled and fresh foods. Chilled is also a big feature of the off licence section where the expanding wine selection has proved popular with customers. Promotions also feature heavily with five promotional ends in store, prominently placed to be seen as soon as you walk through the door and supported with local leafleting.

Budgens of Yarnton also supports local producers including a baker ‘Le Bon Pain’ just seven miles away; a Cotswold flower supplier, recommended by a fellow Budgens retailer; local eggs and a bespoke chilled section for Oxford-based Newitts pies.

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Londis to launch own brand savoury pastries

In a continued drive to offer shoppers good quality products at great prices, Londis is launching its own range of pastries. And to support the launch Londis is running a half price promotion that will deliver a 20 per cent margin for the independent owners of its convenience stores.

Included in the range on offer from 26 February 2011 are:

  • Londis Sausage Roll – 6x165g
  • Londis Cornish Pasty – 6x199g
  • Londis Steak and Kidney Pie – 6x150g
  • Londis Chicken and Mushroom pie – 6x150g
  • Londis Steak and Onion Slice – 6x150g
  • Londis Chicken Tikka Slice – 6x150g

Willie Hamilton, Londis Trading Director said: “As shoppers continue to feel the pinch, price is one of the most important factors when deciding what items to purchase.

What we’re seeing is that shoppers are changing the way they shop, not only are they shopping more regularly at their local convenience store to cut down on wastage, they’re also becoming less brand loyal and are switching to cheaper ‘own brand’ products to help offset the increases they’re seeing in their weekly shop. By making these changes on everyday products, it’s possible to make substantial savings on a typical shop.

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