Budgens targets £100K of Christmas tree sales

Over £100,000 worth of Christmas trees will be sold in Budgens this year, an increase of 100% on last year” predicts Willie Hamilton, Trading Director for Budgens.

Rob Grant of GB Horticulture, who is supplying the Budgens trees this year explained that over 5,000 quality Christmas trees will be delivered to Budgens stores for Christmas.

With prices starting at £12.99, Budgens customers will have a choice of two tree types. The traditional Christmas tree is the Norway spruce although the Nordman fir is becoming increasingly popular. The difference between the two is that the Norway spruce drops its needles when it dries out, whereas the Nordman fir is referred to among growers as a ‘no needle drop’ tree as it should not shed its needles during the festive period.

Budgens customers will have a choice of two sizes: the 3/4ft potted and 5ft+ potted, then 3/4ft un-potted and 5/6ft un-potted in both the Norway spruce and the Nordman.

It terms of the length of time it takes for these trees to grow, the Norway spruce grows at approximately 12-18 inches per year while the Nordman grows at a slower rate of 6-12 inches per year.

This year, due to an exceptionally high demand from retailers, Budgens trees have had to be sourced not only from the UK, but also from Denmark, Belgium and around the German/Netherlands border. Hot and cold snaps at the end of the growing season in the UK resulted in some growers finding that the extremities of some trees had been damaged and therefore a higher demand for UK trees due to the drop in numbers available.

GB Horticulture decided early to secure Christmas tree deliveries from Europe to ensure the quality and good condition of trees for its customers and to confirm its pre-set prices.

Denmark and the northern European area where we are sourcing the trees from have excellent climactic conditions for growing Christmas trees,” said Grant. “Trees grow in cooler climates are stronger and the growers we use are well established; with that comes knowledge and quality.

Deliveries to Budgens stores will begin at the beginning of December and will be made on Danish trolleys, although some of the smaller stores will have their trees delivered loose in smaller vans.

Customers can extend the appearance and condition of their trees through a little care during the festive period. “Although trees dry out quicker in the home due to internal heating,” explained Grant, “measures can be taken to delay this such as misting the trees which will delay the drying out effect. However, great care must be taken to ensure that electrical goods are kept at a safe distance, including tree lights.

The market for Poinsettia plants has exploded over the last few years,” said Grant. “Their popularity has soared and those being sold by Budgens are now being transported to stores in the new fleet of temperature controlled vehicles. This ensures that customers receive the plants in excellent condition.

We are already beginning to secure trees for next Christmas to ensure we have the best quality trees available for retailers and their customers,” said Grant.

According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), the tradition of Christmas trees is thought to date back to 16th Century Germany with them being introduced into Britain during the Georgian period. The BCTGA was established in 1979.

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Centra launches new full roast 100% Fairtrade coffee

Signing a €2m supply deal with Bewleys

Centra, Ireland’s largest local retailer has announced that it has signed a €2 million deal with Bewley’s to supply its new full roast coffee bean which will be freshly ground for the ‘on the go’ coffee range sold throughout its 463 stores nationwide. Centra’s new full roast coffee is 100% Fairtrade certified and a delicious blend of premium Arabica coffee beans sourced from Brazil, Columbia and Nicaragua.

Centra, which sells over 8 million cups of coffee every year or over 160,000 cups each week has rolled out it’s new exciting full roast coffee in response to changing consumption patterns of coffee drinkers in Ireland. According to the latest research, despite the recession, coffee consumption and sales has remained relatively unaffected. The coffee in-store category has continued to grow in recent years, with the volume of take-away coffee increasing by 38%, prompting Centra to launch its new coffee bean and continue to build on its position as one of Ireland’s most popular destinations for ‘on the go’ coffee.    

Irish people still view coffee as an affordable indulgence, with good coffee becoming something of a necessity as palates have become more sophisticated and demanding, however, Irish coffee drinkers are going back to basics and purchasing more cups of regular coffee over lattes and cappuccinos.

The average cups of coffee purchased per day in Centra stores has increased from 1.5 to 2 cups, with Centra forecourt stores accounting for 20% of the groups total coffee sales, particularly before 9am each morning. This growth is primarily driven by lifestyle factors, with consumers citing their desire for an energy boosting kick-start to their day as the main reason for purchasing take-away coffee.  Centra’s forecourt store  in Charleville Co. Cork is reported to sell more cups of coffee than any other Centra store throughout Ireland, with over 130,000 cups sold each year. Centra convenience stores represent the highest sales for the mid morning and lunch time coffee trade.

Commenting on the announcement, Ciara McClafferty, Category Manager, Centra said “We are delighted to award the contract for our new full roast coffee to Bewley’s.  We are fully committed to supporting Irish suppliers and Irish businesses, while providing our consumers with a quality product. With the improvement of coffee standards in Ireland, consumers expect a café standard when purchasing coffee in store and this is what we supply with our new full roast bean. By purchasing Fairtrade coffee, Centra is supporting marginalised suppliers and workers, helping them move from a state of vulnerability to security and economic self sustainability.”

Speaking at the launch, Jim Corbett, Managing Director, Bewley’s said “We are delighted to sign this €2million supply deal with Centra. It is a great example of two strong indigenous Irish brands doing significant business together and in so doing, helping to secure Irish jobs in addition to providing consumers with a great tasting   quality product at good value prices. Supplying Fairtrade coffee, demonstrates Centra’s commitment and strategic intent to develop sustainable and ethical relationships with suppliers, both at home and abroad and we at Bewleys are very pleased to be involved.”  

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Britain’s biggest Budgens opens after £1 million investment

The biggest Budgens in Britain fully reopened on Tuesday 15 November 2011 after a six week extensive expansion and refurbishment.

The Budgens of Holt store has been expanded from slightly less than 9,000 square feet to over 13,000 square feet, making it the biggest Budgens within the symbol group.

We are proud that Budgens of Holt, with its new extension and extensive store refurbishment, will now offer our customers even better value and a greater range,” said store owner Michael Baker at the opening, which was attended by a large group of local dignitaries and contractors.

After the significant building extension project, we carried out the internal refurbishment over a six week period, with only small sections of the store being closed at a time to ensure that our customers had as little disruption as was possible. I am delighted that our customers will now have access to the biggest Budgens store in the country,” he said.

We are pleased to see so many of our retailers investing in refits and store developments during these challenging economic times. The Budgens of Holt team and our retail partner Michael Baker have done an amazing job to bring a first class fresh food supermarket to the people of Holt,” said Dan Quest, Budgens Sales Director. “With all the elements including an improved product range, full meat and poultry offer along with an improved bakery and Artisan breads, this store now represents a real showcase for what the Budgens brand offers that I’m sure the customers from Holt and the surrounding area will enjoy.

With well over £1 million invested in the store, many improvements have been made not only to the look and feel internally, but also in terms of extending the product ranges.

We embraced modern concepts of fresh, not only in terms of the range of produce but in how we source food from local suppliers,” Baker added.

Budgens of Holt has extensive relationships with several local suppliers enabling it to offer its customers a tempting variety of products. Fresh fish is supplied by J W H Jonas of Cromer, a local fishmonger whose specialty is supplying dressed crab during the summer, as well as cod and salmon.

Fresh meat is supplied locally by H V Graves of Briston. Customers looking for meat will benefit from a much larger in-store selection, the display of which has been increased to 10m and compliments the Budgens range. Further improvements have also been made to the frozen section which was increased by 6m; beers, wines and spirits were also extended by a similar amount.

During the initial store opening period, promotional offers for customers would include tins of Roses chocolates for £4, large bags of Kettle crisps (150g) for £1, packs of Budgens chicken breast at £3 and a 12-pack of Andrex at £4.

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SuperValu signs new deal with Uniplumo to supply Irish poinsettias for Christmas

SuperValu, Ireland’s leading independent supermarket, has today announced that it has signed a new agreement worth over €335,000 with Dublin based company Uniplumo to supply Poinsettias for the Christmas season.  As a result, SuperValu will only stock 100% Irish Poinsettias which will retail at just €3.

The deal is the latest in an established partnership between both companies, worth over €1,250,000 in retail sales and which has seen the volume of Uniplumo’s business with SuperValu increase by 40% over the past three years.

Uniplumo are specialists in the horticulture market, operating from six acres of heated glass houses near Swords, County Dublin.  The company now employs 43 fulltime staff and 28 seasonal staff.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, SuperValu said, “We are delighted to show our continued support for Irish suppliers.  Our commercial relationship with Uniplumo is another example of our partnership approach with Irish companies where we have been able to work together to grow the business.  Poinsettias are extremely popular for Christmas, so we are proud to be in a position to offer exclusively home grown plants to our shoppers. Supervalu’s commitment to investing in local produce guarantees top quality and longevity in our fresh offering.”

Tom Summerville, General Manager, Uniplumo, added, “We are delighted by this announcement which demonstrates an enormous commitment by SuperValu to home grown Poinsettia, and to Irish jobs.  Home grown Poinsettia is superior in quality and longevity and is therefore far better value for money by comparison to imported alternatives on offer this Christmas in other supermarkets. This announcement is a very significant development for Uniplumo and we look forward to developing our partnership with SuperValu into the future.”  

SuperValu is Ireland’s leading independent food retailer and the only retailer with a store in each county. Supervalu’s commitment to Irish based producers includes sales of over €1 billion worth of fresh Irish food every year.  In 2010 the total purchases of Irish goods and services made by SuperValu, was worth over €1.6bn to the Irish economy, serving to both create and protect almost 30,000 Irish jobs in the farm, food and retail sector.

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