Centra success proves local shopping is still a favourite as sales hit €1.435 billion

Centra has announced that it recorded retail sales of €1.435 billion in 2012.  This performance underpins Centra’s position, as Ireland’s number one local convenience brand, serving over three million customers per week.  The retail chain grew by 1.6%.
Speaking today at Centra’s National Retailer Conference in Killarney, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, also announced that through a €20 million investment programme by retailers, that the brand will add approximately 400 jobs, as 20 new stores are added to its network in 2013.  100 of these will be new jobs created by the opening of a number of new greenfield sites, with the balance created by store extensions and other independent stores joining the Centra network.
Speaking at the Conference, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, said, “Centra’s success, despite the challenging economic environment, can be attributed to our continued focus on delivering value and providing innovative convenience solutions for shoppers.  In 2012, we increased value to our customers by 15% or almost €90 million, through price reductions and continued to evolve our range to stay in tune with consumer trends.  This is illustrated by an increase of almost €5 million in our ‘Food-to-Go’ sales, while our new ‘Table for Two’ range of convenience dinners, delivering sales of over €1.2m.”
“We opened 18 new stores last year, demonstrating the continuing preference of Irish shoppers to shop local, saving time and petrol, particularly when they can avail of good value and an innovative range.  Together with our retail partners we employ almost 10,000 people, making us one of the biggest employers in the country. As our stores are all locally owned, we also invest back into the community by sourcing from local producers and making a real difference by contributing to local sports clubs and charities.  For example, in 2012 our retailers spent €40 million directly with local suppliers and also donated €2.1 million to community organisations.”
“In 2013 we will continue to adapt to the budget conscious customer by investing in further price reductions, launching new products to cater for specific segments and leveraging our innovation agenda to connect with the modern consumer.”
Centra remains committed to local employment and sourcing from Irish producers, purchasing over €1 billion of Irish goods, with 75% of all products sold in store produced or sourced in Ireland. This included €130 million of Irish fresh food in addition to over €40million spent by Centra store owners on products sourced from suppliers within their local community.

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Londis announces its Store of the Year winners

This year’s Londis Store of the Year awards were presented at the 2013 Londis Retailer Conference last Thursday, celebrating achievements in the use of local produce, exceptional standards and excellent use of merchandising.

Marc and Sarah Jones who own a petrol station in Brynhoffnant, North Wales, and partner with Londis (Retail) and Murco (fuel) took the title of Londis Forecourt Store of the Year as well as the much sought-after overall title of Londis Store of the Year.

Former retailer David Sands presided as judge over the Store of the Year process and said of Marc and Sarah’s store, “I have visited many, many stores but I truly believe the standards in this store are among the best I have ever seen. The store merchandising was superb and it is easily the best example we have seen of locally sourced products, which are clearly very popular given the deliveries and volumes involved. The owners focus on their community and the active role they play has created a clear identity for the store and loyalty from customers”.

Commenting on their double win, Marc Jones said, “It is an honour to have won both titles and Sarah and I are extremely pleased. The support we get from the Londis brand has helped us drive forward our business and these awards recognise a lot of hard work and effort from all the team. Knowing how many exceptional retailers there are who partner with Londis makes this win even more flattering”.

A forecourt also topped the bill in the category of Londis Multiple Account of the Year. The Carsley Group, which has 11 Londis stores and is listed in the top 50 indie groups won the award for its Londis forecourt store in Muskham, near Peterborough.

Simon MacKay who owns the Carsley Group comments, “Our Londis forecourt store near Muskham is a very profitable store and that success is due to the staff who work there and their ability to respond to the needs of our customers. I am extremely proud that Londis has recognised us in this way and thankful for the ongoing support they provide to us as our chosen symbol partner”.

The judges said the Carsley Group’s store in Muskham showed how success can be driven through a clear understanding of your core shopper. For the Muskham forecourt, this is the transient shopper and the Carsley Group offers everything you could want when travelling. From free wi-fi, a comfortable seating area with leather chairs and a large screen showing Sky News, to an extensive sandwich range, as well as a Wild Bean Café and toilets which David Sands said are as good as any 5* hotel and a must-see if you visit the site.

Other winners included brother and sister partnership Tristan and Rebecca King who picked up the award for Londis Small Store of the Year. Judge David Sands described the retailer as a star of the future and was amazed at how quickly store sales have grown after opening in May last year. David was also impressed by the store standards, commitment to staff training and the store’s food to go offer.

Tristan, who opened the store under a year ago comments, “When you consider how many Londis stores there are and how many have been established for years, it’s fantastic that we have won this award. The achievement is thanks to those who work and shop in the store. I’m proud to serve our local community and grateful for the support our customers give us”.

Roli Ranger, who also picked up a range of category awards on the night, won Londis Large Store of the Year for his store in Ascot. Judge David Sands said that Londis Ascot is a model store and that the Londis group should be very proud of it. The store was complimented on its focus on supplying the consumer with local produce, its range of artisan breads, fresh produce displayed in innovative wheelbarrows and even a magnifying glass available to help elderly customers read labels.

Roli Ranger comments, “It’s fantastic to have the recognition for my team and the hard all the hard work we’ve done. I’m proud to serve our local community and grateful for the support our customers give us”.

Donal Horgan, Managing Director of Londis comments, “The standards of all the entries for the Londis Store of the Year were incredible and testament to the exceptional independent retailers choosing to partner with us. The judging process illustrated that whilst our stores offer a range of services and products to suit individual locations and align with the needs of the communities they operate in, all were credited for their exceptional store standards and customer service”.

For more information please contact Felicity Callaghan or Hannah Hayes
felicity.callaghan@musgrave.co.uk / 07720 094 180
HHayes@goodrelations.co.uk / 0207 861 3176

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Londis announces centralisation plans following £25m investment

Driving sales, embracing technology, simplifying its business model and reducing retailers costs were all topics high on the agenda at the 2013 Londis Retailer Conference on Thursday.

The event, which saw Londis Partner, Brand Essentials and Multiple Account retailers attend also revealed the company’s new strategic plans for the centralisation of some key categories and suppliers.

After investment totalling over £25m in the last 2 years alone, including a new trading IT infrastructure and a new fleet of tri temperature vehicles, Londis announced to retailers that all frozen products (with the exception of some regional variants) will in future be centralised in the business and delivered directly to retailers. The planned move will take place in Q3 2013, following the centralisation of Allied Bakery, Country Choice, Bonds Sweets and Fatherson Bakery in the first two quarters.

Londis MD, Donal Horgan comments, “The continued difficult economic climate means household budgets are being squeezed and we know this impacts on the businesses of our retailers. As their partner it’s our role to help Londis retailers by providing the most competitive and compelling offer for their shoppers. We can also help our retail partners keep their business simple by providing ways for them to take cost and time out of the day to day running of their business giving them more time to devote to their shoppers in store”.

As with all Londis activity, developments are made with the input and viewpoints of retailers via the Londis National Retailer Council. Retailer Arjan Mehr who chairs the council comments, “The plans for Londis to deliver frozen product directly to us will drive significant benefit to retailers. We have asked for this, and Londis has responded. The improvements in Londis’ supply chain will lead to better value through higher loyalty payments and enhanced margins, quicker processes for us when ordering and receiving deliveries, and a more tailored range of products specifically relevant to Londis retailers. For many retailers, it will also unlock access to an increased number of deliveries due to higher order volumes. This will mean retailers will also be able to integrate their chilled and fresh volumes into their orders”.

Londis, also updated retailers on the phenomenal success of Webshop. The launch target to get 800 retailers using the system has been significantly exceeded with over 1,200 retailers now regularly ordering online via Webshop. Now available to all retailers, Londis revealed plans to develop Webshop’s capabilities in 2013 which included; online invoicing, credit card purchasing and EPOS order validation.

Looking forward to the year ahead for the retailers partnering with Londis, Donal Horgan comments, “I have no doubt that 2013 will be a game changing year for Londis retailers. Over recent years we have made significant investments in the brand (in areas such as offer development, technology, supply chain infrastructure and in resourcing our business to grow store numbers) to better meet the needs of our retail partners. In 2013, this investment will come to fruition, helping Londis retailers compete and win in todays changed retail world and prove that well supported independent entrepreneurial retailers can remain the back bone of today’s local communities”.

For more information please contact Felicity Callaghan or Hannah Hayes:
felicity.callaghan@musgrave.co.uk / 07720 094 180
HHayes@goodrelations.co.uk / 0207 861 3176

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Number one? Must try harder!

If you’re Ireland’s number one local convenience brand, the pressure is on — how to take it up a level? And Centra is certainly not holding back: ask the over three million customers per week who pushed growth up by 1.6%. and took sales up to over €1.4 billion in 2012.

The key? In part, it’s about being quick to respond to consumer trends: a new line of convenience dinners and the perfectly timed Food-to-Go lines are the outward signs of that. Behind that, however, is a host of other factors. For instance, if you’re on a limited budget you may occasionally prefer to leave the car at home and stick to essentials — if, that is, a local stores can offer them at a reasonable price. And if that outlet supports Irish food and suppliers at the same time, it can boost consumer loyalty.

While local supply is a permanent feature of our retail partner’s businesses, many initiatives are based on flexibility and market awareness; we have to respond to consumer trends — and do so quickly and attractively.

It’s clearly paying off. So is it time to relax? No. It’s time to invest! A €20 million investment programme, with new stores and new jobs is on its way. Contrary to the sentiment of the humourous slogan, if you are number one you really do have to try harder.

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