Economics matters

We regularly mention the importance of community and local involvement in these blogs. It’s useful, therefore, to have our convictions underlined by others: the economic consultancy Economics Clinic for example. Its recent economic report was an important addition to the body of work that assesses the importance of local retail to local economies and, in some cases, local regeneration.

In this case the Economics Clinic focused on the contribution of SuperValu store owners’ investment in local communities in Ireland. The key findings from the report can be found on our news pages. Suffice it to say that not only local jobs and services like accountancy are boosted by the presence of a SuperValu store in a town but the stores take a very positive and proactive approach to Irish sourcing, which often directly boosts local economies.

The report makes it clear that in 2011 SuperValu stores regularly worked directly with local suppliers and bought products sourced from suppliers within their own local communities. That’s tens of millions of euros going to local enterprise and back into the local community and the wider Irish economy.

But don’t take our word for it. Commenting on the economic report, the Economics Clinic’s David McWilliams said, “In order to revive the Irish economy, small to medium-sized enterprise development must become a key driver of growth.” We couldn’t agree more.

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The virtuous circle of local supply

Sourcing Irish and reinvesting back into the Irish economy is fine to say but it’s the real contracts that matter. Supporters of local supply now have over 100 good reasons to celebrate with SuperValu’s announcement of contracts with Irish suppliers — 104 of them — for 2012.

But these contracts — worth over €80 million — are important in another way. They form an important part of the continuing rollout of the SuperValu Own Brand range. The message this brings to consumers — that own brand innovation benefits local suppliers as well as offering keen pricing and quality— is an enormously powerful one.

And of course Irish water bottling companies, free range egg suppliers, sausage makers and ice cream manufacturers among many, many others already working alongside SuperValu, will benefit from the reach and brand awareness of SuperValu to bring their products to as wide a customer base as possible.

They in turn can put the money they make back into their own communities — including the SuperValu customers that buy their products. That way the economic benefits can be felt by everyone — including SuperValu — in a  sort of virtuous circle.

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Catching retail in the ‘net

When the Londis Webshop was launched back in March we thought it reasonable to estimate that 800 of our retailers would sign up for online ordering by 2012. We expect that number to be exceeded very soon. Optimistic? Not at all. After all, it’s an identifiably money-saving tool that brings together technology, usability and efficiency.

Retailers, when it launched, could see a full-colour catalogue of current products and prices including promotions. It allowed scanning of products straight into the shop and the creation of repeat orders to save time. New features are being added and new capabilities included. It’s a perfect example of Musgrave and our partners seizing the opportunity the internet offers to improve our service.

So we were pretty pleased when The Clipper Logistics Group Supply Chain Technology of the Year award at the Hermes Retail Week Supply Chain Awards went to — yes, The Londis Webshop. And, without giving too much away, we have great plans for Webshop in 2013. We’re thrilled that Londis has won this award but we, are not going to rest on our laurels. We’ve proved that technology can do amazing things for retail efficiencies. And we hope to prove it again and again in the coming months and years.

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Tidier than ever!

You’ve got to hand it to the towns and villages of Ireland. Their enthusiasm for the SuperValu TidyTowns Award is as strong as ever. Stronger in fact. It’s barely credible that there were 855 entries in 2012 and 1,000 representatives from TidyTowns groups at the presentation itself.

As you probably know, Abbeyshrule pulled off an impressive double: tidiest village and overall winner. Clonakilty, as Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town, Westport as Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town, and Ennis, as Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre also had something to celebrate.

As did SuperValu, now associated with the competition for 21 of the 54 years it’s been running. Not long after Abbeyshrule got the good news SuperValu was also recognised — this time with an award in the Best Cause (Charity/ Community) Sponsorship category at the Irish Sponsorship Awards in The Burlington Hotel.

We’re delighted that SuperValu has won this award and also that it has won title sponsorship rights allowing it to call the competition SuperValu TidyTowns, with all the brand exposure that implies — especially at a time when SuperValu Own Brand is very much to the fore.

But the real importance of the Tidy Towns sponsorship and recognition of SuperValu’s part in it, is the fact that it is entirely in touch with the ethos that drives a network of stores like SuperValu: community involvement and pride of place.

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High standards at all times

As we near the end of another economically troubled year it’s more important than ever to recognise the work of so many of our retail partners in not only aiming for the best possible customer service and operations but building a successful and appealing workplace and establishing a strong place in the community.

That’s no easy task, of course, which is why it’s so gratifying that there was such a high standard of entries and real competition for the recent 2012 Daybreak Store of the Year awards. In fact the tough and fully audited standards required of a potential winner of the Overall Store of the Year award in such areas as products and services, environment, communications and people and behaviours were met by 14 candidates, which makes the achievement of Daybreak Blanchardstown even more impressive.

Nick Crawford opened his site in 2011; he now employs nine staff, proving that if you serve the customer well you can make a real mark in retail even at a time when everyone is feeling the pinch.

Of course we make a point of recognising our own successes through events like these that recognise the achievements of our top Daybreak stores, SuperValu stores and others.  For example, McCaughey’s Daybreak in Broomfield, Co. Monaghan, winner of the Forecourt/Convenience store of the year (up to 1,100 sq feet category) at the Irish Forecourt and Convenience Retailer (IFCR) awards. That’s the second year running, by the way.

We’re proud of the fact that standards remain so high from both Musgrave and its retail partners in good times and bad. In fact we wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Musgrave Retail Partners Great Britain Announces Distribution Partnership with Boots UK

Musgrave Retail Partners Great Britain has announced the beginning of a new distribution partnership with Boots UK. The trial will see Musgrave Retail Partners Great Britain supply convenience food (including a select range of SuperValu own brand products) to a number of Boots UK stores.

Three Boots UK stores have begun stocking SuperValu products from this week, with eight more coming on board over the coming weeks. Both mini (200 – 250 sqft) and maxi format (700 – 750 sqft) Boots UK stores will participate in the pilot.

Smaller stores (Mini format) in Fort Dunlop, Warrington, York, Swindon, Colchester and Chapelfield Norwich will offer shoppers ready meals, everyday fruit, vegetables and salad, desserts, tea, coffee and bakery goods, incorporating lines from the SuperValu own brand range.

Larger Boots stores (maxi format) in Manchester, Woking and Watford will offer the same range with additional items of meat, fish, breakfast essentials, dairy goods and grocery and household essentials. It is anticipated that further pilot stores will roll out in early 2013.

Commenting on the new partnership, Donal Horgan, Managing Director, Musgrave Retail Partners Great Britain said, “Partnering with a reputable and successful brand like Boots UK represents an exciting growth opportunity for the Musgrave Retail Partners Great Britain business.

This new partnership will allow us an opportunity to further grow our business and will offer Boots UK customers the chance to experience the quality of our range, including SuperValu own brand. This announcement will also allow Musgrave Retail Partners Great Britain the opportunity to exploit the capability of our distribution network.

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