SIMPLY THE BEST! Cork and Donegal Centra Stores Scoop ‘Store of the Year’ Awards

O’Leary’s Centra, Tower, Co. Cork – Neighbourhood Store & Overall Store of the Year 2015 winners

O’Leary’s Centra, Tower, Co. Cork is celebrating their Centra Neighbourhood Store of the Year 2015 and Overall Store of the Year 2015 awards. The award was presented to Paddy O’Leary, Store Owner and Lisa O’ Leary, Store Manager by Martin Kelleher, MRPI MD and Ian Allen, Centra Sales Director.

Lee’s Centra in Charleville, Co. Cork scooped Centra’s ‘High Convenience Store of the Year Award 2015’ and Kelly’s Centra in Mountain-Top, Co. Donegal took home the ‘Convenience Store of the Year Award 2015’, all having fought off stiff competition from Centra retailers around the country.

The awards were presented by Martin Kelleher, Ian Allen, and Robert Finnegan, Three CEO. Three are the sponsors of the Awards.

The Centra ‘Store of the Year’ Awards are bestowed upon the stores which give a true reflection of excellence across every retail aspect.

All 463 Centra stores throughout the Republic of Ireland are audited by an independent retail consultant, Joe Comerford, for the award. The audit focuses on value, fresh food, quality, product range, hygiene, customer service and local community involvement.

Commenting on the awards, competition judge, Joe Comerford said “These finalists offer an exceptional service from the moment you step inside their door. They tick all the boxes – from a wide product selection with an excellent fresh food offering, to great value products with first rate customer service. Local community involvement is also of paramount importance to these stores.”

Commenting on the awards Robert Finnegan, CEO at Three, said “These awards are hugely important to the retail sector and we’re delighted to play a part in them. Three is proud to continue the sponsorship of the overall Store of the Year award and we look forward to bringing the partnership with Centra from strength to strength.”

Centra - Best convenience store 2015
Left: Kelly’s Centra, Mountain-Top, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal is celebrating having been awarded the Centra Convenience Store of the Year 2015 award. The award was presented to store owner Mairtín Kelly, David Bonner and Lee O’ Donnell from Martin Kelleher, Centra Managing Director and Ian Allen, Centra Sales Director.
Centra - Best high convienence store 2015
Left: Lee’s Centra, Charleville, Co. Cork is celebrating having been awarded the Centra High Convenience Store of the Year 2015 award. The award was presented to store owners Brendan and Ray Lee from Martin Kelleher, Centra Managing Director and Ian Allen, Centra Sales Director.

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Centra Reaches New Milestone With €1.5 Billion in Sales Confirming its Status as Ireland’s Number One Convenience Brand

Pictured at the Centra Conference in Killarney from left to right are, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director Centra, Alan Jordan, Centra Retailer Chairperson and Ian Allen, Centra Sales Director

Centra, Ireland’s number one convenience brand, have announced that it recorded retail sales of over €1.5 billion in 2014, a 3% increase on the previous year’s performance. Centra also revealed that it will add 380 jobs to the network this year, as 16 new stores are set to open in 2015. Last year, Centra retailers invested €7m in store openings and refurbishment, adding 25,000 sq. ft. to the Centra network.

Centra’s growth was underpinned by increased Own Brand sales, the introduction of its all day fresh food range, innovative products and services and delivering great value across all categories.

Sales of the Centra Own Brand range rose by 14%, reflecting the trend of consumers switching to Own Brand products in recent years.

Fresh food sales also drove growth, with the launch of Centra’s new range of gourmet sandwiches and pizzas experiencing significant sales increases. Gourmet sandwiches sales rose 8%, while pizza sales increased by 17% during the year. This was boosted by innovative promotions such as Centra’s 1 cent tea and coffee promotion on budget day, with coffee sales rising 14% in 2014.

Speaking today at the brand’s National Retailer Conference in Killarney to over 463 retailers in attendance, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, said: “2014 was a very successful year for Centra in which we continued to lead the convenience market and achieved milestone sales of €1.5 billion. This is a tremendous achievement for the brand and our retailers, clearly demonstrating that consumers recognise that Centra offers the best value, choice and quality in the market. It also places the Centra brand within the top twenty Irish brands by turnover, which is a huge accomplishment when you consider that this has been achieved by the combined efforts of 463 local businesses across the country.”

“We plan to drive this momentum into 2015 by continuing to differentiate Centra from the competition by introducing new healthier ranges which will make it easier for shoppers to pick up healthy options at any time of the day, investing further in our Own Brand and fresh food ranges, whilst also focusing on rolling out new smart eCommerce technology services to give consumers the best retail experience in the market.”

With 463 stores, Centra employs almost 11,000 people and serves over three million customers per week. Centra purchases from Irish producers, selling over €1.1 billion of Irish goods, with 75% of all products sold in store produced or sourced in Ireland, with an additional €60 million worth of product being sourced by stores locally from over 1,400 small local suppliers.

Centra also invests over €240 million in local communities per annum, which is the equivalent of €4.5 million per week through a combination of payments to local suppliers, acquisition of local business services, wages, charitable donations and local sponsorships.

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Budgens opens a second new concept store in Byfleet, Surrey

The store re-opened with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday 22nd January 2015. In the image are Byfleet’s Primary School Head Teacher, Mrs Crowley, Byfleet’s oldest customers, Alan (82) and Thomas (97), Store Manager, Dan Rapson along with children from Byfleet Primary School.

Budgens has recently opened their second new concept store in Byfleet, Surrey. The store, which has been trading in Byfleet since 2011, was closed for four days while it underwent a refit to install a new look and feel. Byfleet is the first compact market town store to adopt the new concept which is currently being tested in the Broadstone lab store. The store plan is focused on the brand’s key shopper missions – a strong lunch offering, top-up shop and meal for tonight, and will serve as a good example of how the concept can be rolled-out at a lower cost.

Mike Baker, Budgens Brand Director say’s “It’s great to see the new concept being adapted to a smaller format store, the changes in Broadstone have been really well-received with sales revenue up 25% and I’m confident we’ll get a similar reaction here.

Budgens of Byfleet enjoys a wealth of new ranges alongside an increased selection of fresh products, a fresh bakery and a focus on authentic, affordable, artisanal and locally produced foods. Other improvements include a broader ‘Discover the Taste’ selection, free wifi in store and a ‘Free Coffee Fridays’ initiative which offers customers a free coffee when spending £10 or more in store.

Budgens of Byfleet also welcomed popular TV chef and cookery writer Anjum Anand to the store (Saturday 24th January), who joined in the relaunch celebrations by signing copies of her book and meeting and greeting customers. Budgens promoted the re-opening by door-dropping 2,000 of Anjum Anand’s ‘The Spice Tailor’ kits to local residents. Budgens have opted for a doorstep campaign rather than through the letterbox to safeguard any hungry pets that might otherwise get to them first. The relaunch was a great success.

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Ballymun Wins Top Award at Musgrave Marketplace Region of the Year Awards

Friday February 20th saw the 4th annual Musgrave MarketPlace Region of the Year Awards take place in Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort, Kildare. This was the fourth year of the awards and was attended by 150 MWP colleagues who were treated to a night of great food and entertainment.

Noel Keeley, Managing Director MWP said “I am very proud of what our Division achieved in 2014. In the last four years we have made great progress with our strategy of being the leading wholesale supplier to the retail and foodservice businesses in the market we serve. And while we still face many challenges we have a growing vibrant business notwithstanding a very tough economic environment.”

Musgrave MarketPlace Ballymun won the overall Region of the Year Award. Awards were based on sales performances, QA audits, Mystery Shopper scores and employee engagement results. Commenting on Ballymun’s victory, Brian Staunton General Manager said “It is a huge honor for us to win the Region of the Year Award again – it’s a great testament to the team in Ballymun who have worked so hard in driving sales and Wholesale Excellence in 2014. We hit many milestones over the year which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our colleagues in the various central teams who have always given us great support in Ballymun.”

Further awards were announced on the night recognising branch employees Kaizen and “Mail Noel” initiatives as well as the Customer Service Champions as voted by MarketPlace customers and 4 awards for central support and commercial colleagues.

The full list of winners on the night were:

  • Region of the Year Winner – MarketPlace Ballymun
  • Region of the Year Runner Up – MarketPlace Cork
  • Best Kaizen Idea Winner – Krzystof Sweitex, MarketPlace Limerick
  • Best Mail my MD Winner – Karl McEvitt, Telesales Ballymun
  • Customer Service Winner – Sean Devine, MarketPlace Derry
  • Central Support Colleague Winner ROI –Mark Dunne, Health & Safety Manager, Musgrave MarketPlace
  • Central Support Colleague Winner NI – Andrew Hawkins, NI Management Accountant Musgrave MarketPlace
  • Central Commercial Colleague ROI Winner – Elaine Byrne, Trading Manager Musgrave MarketPlace
  • Central Commercial Colleague NI Winner – Nicola Keery, Marketing Assistant Musgrave MarketPlace

Noel Keeley concluded: “The 2014 awards have been a great success for MWP and with the prospect of another challenging year ahead; the Region of the Year programme will continue to drive wholesale excellence and ultimately better position our MarketPlace brand to deliver on our ‘Winning In The New World’ growth agenda.”

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Centra Celebrates the Cream of the Crop at Inaugural Awards Ceremony

Pictured is the winner of the Centra Pride Awards 2015, Brenda Donagher from Daniels’ Centra Portarlington, Co Laois

The inaugural Pride of Centra Awards took place recently in Croke Park where a selection of outstanding Centra employees were honoured for their commitment and dedication shown in the workplace. The awards were established to acknowledge the Centra employees who consistently live and demonstrate the Centra brand values each and every day. Just 10 Centra employees were selected as finalists out of a total of over 10,000 demonstrating the significance of their achievement.

The overall winner on the day was Brenda Donagher from Daniels’ Centra Portarlington, Co Laois. Brenda was a standout winner for her remarkable pride, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness in everything she does. Brenda was nominated by store owner Dermot Daniels for her complete commitment to Centra and the community in Portarlington. Not only is she a fantastic Centra brand ambassador but she is also involved in all aspects of community life including walking clubs, Irish dancing, athletics and GAA that demonstrated her willingness to go above and beyond her call of duty.

There were nine other finalists there on the day representing seven additional counties: Clare, Cork, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Tipperary and Wicklow. These nine finalists were also recognised for their ongoing commitment to their work through community initiatives, charity organisations, customer service and imaginative in-store ideas.

Centra is extremely proud of the all its employees and the strength they bring to the business, constantly ensuring that Centra delivers a very high standard in everything it does. It is the retailers, store managers and floor staff that have driven Centra’s business throughout Ireland over the past 36 years.

Commenting on the Pride of Centra Awards, Matt O’Callaghan, Human Resource Director, Centra, said; “Throughout our stores we have fantastic people who are all dedicated to delivering ‘Service Excellence’, a very high standard of customer service and local community engagement. We are very grateful to all our employees but in particular the finalists who made it to the inaugural Pride of Centra Awards. These finalists have really shown that they go the extra mile every day for the customers and communities in which they work and live. I would like to congratulate Brenda on this fantastic achievement and I hope she will continue to bring her enthusiasm to her local Centra store for many years to come.”

Overall winner Brenda Donagher from Daniels’ Centra Portarlington commented; “I am absolutely delighted to have been named overall winner at the inaugural Pride of Centra Awards. I have been working in Centra for eight years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. The store is a central part of the local community and I would like to thank all our customers in Portarlington for their ongoing loyalty and contribution to all our initiatives such as the walking club and our partnership with the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer.”

Pride of Centra 2015 Finalists:

  • Carmel Dormeer – Lynch’s Centra, Ennis, Co. Clare
  • Pamela Cox – Herlihy’s Centra Group, Cork
  • Eoin Hurley – O’Leary’s Centra, Bandon, Co. Cork
  • Bernadette O’ Regan – Fuller’s Centra, Union Hall, Co. Cork
  • Roisin Law – Mulhern’s Centra, Mullinavat, Co. Kilkenny
  • Brenda Donagher – Daniels’ Centra, Portarlington, Co. Laois
  • Michelle McLoughlin – Gibbons’ Centra, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim
  • Seamus Moroney – Chawke’s Centra, Castletroy, Limerick
  • Gabriel Kearney – McKenna’s Centra, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow
  • Tracey Coleman – O’ Connell’s Centra, Templemore, Co. Tipperary
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SuperValu records €2.58 billion in sales in 2014 with plans to open four new stores and add 280 jobs in 2015

SuperValu, the leading Irish grocery retailer, has announced that it recorded retail sales of €2.58 billion in 2014. This represents a new milestone for the brand, following the addition of 24 former Superquinn stores to the business in February 2014. As a result, SuperValu now holds 24.9% market share and serves over 2.6 million customers every week.

SuperValu plans to invest €18 million in opening four new stores in 2015, which will add 280 jobs to the SuperValu network. Some of the locations will include Athlone and Kilcock. Together with its retail partners, SuperValu employs approximately 14,500 colleagues, making it one of the State’s largest private sector employers.

Commenting at the SuperValu national conference in Killarney today, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of SuperValu, said: “We are satisfied with our current trading performance, having finished the year well with a good Christmas trading period. We believe that SuperValu can continue to go from strength to strength in 2015. We will continue to drive the momentum behind SuperValu into 2015 through our food leadership programme, commitment to local suppliers through initiatives like Food Academy, and exceptional value through quality own brand products and promotions.”

“Quality is where SuperValu really stands out. We have butcher counters in store and our fresh meat is 100% Irish, so we lead the market in terms of quality food that consumers can trust. The fact that the majority of our stores are independently owned means that our retail partners can source local products that you simply won’t find on shelves anywhere else. We have really leveraged this over the past year through the Food Academy programme, helping over two hundred small Irish suppliers gain their first listing with a grocery retailer.”

One of the major achievements by SuperValu in 2014 was the establishment of the Food Academy programme, which is a joint initiative between SuperValu, Bord Bia, the Local Enterprise Office Network to support small food companies in Ireland.

By virtue of its community retailer model, whereby stores are independently owned by local entrepreneurs, SuperValu is able to give Food Academy participating companies the unique opportunity of starting their journey on a small scale. Participants are mentored by SuperValu and are able to secure listings with individual stores, helping them grow to a point where they are on a commercial footing to supply a network of stores.

200 small food producers supported by the Food Academy will generate sales worth €10 million with SuperValu in 2015. 30 high performing small food companies have also graduated to Food Academy Advance, the next stage of the programme, to allow them to scale up and secure national listings with SuperValu.

This support for Irish suppliers was one of the reasons why SuperValu was recognised as the best supporter of Irish producers, according to an independent study by Checkout and Ignite Research in 2014. Of the 3,000 respondents surveyed for the ‘Where We Shop 2014’ report, one third of shoppers named SuperValu as the best promoter of Irish products, ahead of any other grocery retailer in Ireland.

75% of everything on SuperValu’s shelves is sourced or produced in Ireland. SuperValu continues to source locally wherever possible and purchases almost €2 billion worth of goods from Irish suppliers which help to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

 

Photograph by Domnick Walsh Photography

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Budgens set to open three new forecourt stores

Budgens, the independent retail brand, are set to open three new forecourt stores before the end of the first quarter. The first is in Stadhampton in Oxfordshire which opened on 12th February, the second will be in Kingsclere in Hampshire and is due late February and the third will be in Wellington in Somerset and is expected mid-March.

These new forecourts will stock an extensive range of products from essentials and food-on-the-go options to a more complete offering which reflects the brand’s key shopper missions – a strong lunch offering, top-up shop and meal for tonight. They will also include a good fresh range alongside affordable artisan products from local suppliers and trusted brands.

Mike Baker, Budgens Director says “Our forecourt business is performing really well and we’ve got the balance between convenience and interesting just right. It’s fantastic to see these new stores opening and to be welcoming new retail partners such as Mohammed Farooq, I’m sure he’ll make Stadhamptomn a great success.”

Budgens of Stadhampton

Summit Service Station, Stadhampton, Oxfordshire OX44 7TP

This new forecourt is in a village location 8miles south of Oxford and has a neighbourhood store feel. The site has undergone a full rebuild and refit project creating a new 2,335 sq ft shop which is owned by our new retail partner Mohammed Farooq.

Budgens of Kingsclere

Kingsclere Service Station, Newbury Road, Kingsclere, Hampshire RG20 4TA      

The site is a redevelopment of a closed down forecourt and is owned by John Mason of Peregrine Retail Ltd. The forecourt is located on the outskirts of Kingsclere which is 7 miles south of Newbury and is currently undergoing a full regeneration which will result in a new 2,500 sq ft shop being created.

Budgens of Wellington

Westpark 26, Wellington Somerset TA21 9AD

This will be the second new forecourt for our retail partner John Mason; it is being built on a new site and will encompass a 2,660 sq ft store plus a Subway concession on an edge of town development in Wellington. John Mason also operates the Budgens stores at Blackhorse, Blashford and Bridgwater.

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Centra reaches new milestone with €1.5 billion in sales confirming its status as Ireland’s number one convenience brand

Centra, Ireland’s number one convenience brand, has announced that it recorded retail sales of over €1.5 billion in 2014, a 3% increase on the previous year’s performance. Centra also revealed that it will add 380 jobs to the network this year, as 16 new stores are set to open in 2015. Last year, Centra retailers invested €7m in store openings and refurbishment, adding 25,000 sq. ft. to the Centra network.

Centra’s growth was underpinned by increased Own Brand sales, the introduction of its all day fresh food range, innovative products and services and delivering great value across all categories.

Sales of the Centra Own Brand range rose by 14%, reflecting the trend of consumers switching to Own Brand products in recent years.

Fresh food sales also drove growth, with the launch of Centra’s new range of gourmet sandwiches and pizzas experiencing significant sales increases. Gourmet sandwiches sales rose 8%, while pizza sales increased by 17% during the year. This was boosted by innovative promotions such as Centra’s 1 cent tea and coffee promotion on budget day, with coffee sales rising 14% in 2014.

Speaking today at the brand’s National Retailer Conference in Killarney to over 463 retailers in attendance, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, said: “2014 was a very successful year for Centra in which we continued to lead the convenience market and achieved milestone sales of €1.5 billion. This is a tremendous achievement for the brand and our retailers, clearly demonstrating that consumers recognise that Centra offers the best value, choice and quality in the market. It also places the Centra brand within the top twenty Irish brands by turnover, which is a huge accomplishment when you consider that this has been achieved by the combined efforts of 463 local businesses across the country.”

“We plan to drive this momentum into 2015 by continuing to differentiate Centra from the competition by introducing new healthier ranges which will make it easier for shoppers to pick up healthy options at any time of the day, investing further in our Own Brand and fresh food ranges, whilst also focusing on rolling out new smart eCommerce technology services to give consumers the best retail experience in the market.”

With 463 stores, Centra employs almost 11,000 people and serves over three million customers per week. Centra purchases from Irish producers, selling over €1.1 billion of Irish goods, with 75% of all products sold in store produced or sourced in Ireland, with an additional €60 million worth of product being sourced by stores locally from over 1,400 small local suppliers.

Centra also invests over €240 million in local communities per annum, which is the equivalent of €4.5 million per week through a combination of payments to local suppliers, acquisition of local business services, wages, charitable donations and local sponsorships.

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