Musgrave sales top €4.4bn

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Musgrave group, Republic of ireland, Musgrave

Irish supermarket group Musgrave has reported a 17 per cent rise in
year-end sales to €4.4bn, bolstered by the acquisition of Britain's
Londis convenience store chain.

The Cork-based retailer saw profit before tax rise five per cent for the year ending 31 December 2005 to €72.5m (£49.5m), lifted by lower interest charges and new acquisitions.

Excluding the Londis, C&R Frozen Foods and Variety Foods acquisitions, sales were 4.6 per cent higher than in 2004.

But the firm, which owns the Centra and SuperValu banners in the Republic of Ireland, said operating profit accounted for 2.3 per cent of total sales at €102.6m, down on last year's 2.9 per cent.

"Our retailers are trading in an environment of higher costs, increasingly diverse consumer needs and more time-pressed shoppers. Despite these pressures our retailers delivered a seven per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the Republic of Ireland and five per cent in Northern Ireland and Britain,"​ said CEO Chris Martin.

Sales at SuperValu stores rose five per cent to €1.82bn. The firm will pump €40m into 11 new stores over the coming months, while older stores will be subject to a €105m regeneration project.

Musgrave's Centra banner saw sales break the €1bn barrier for the first time, increasing 14 per cent to €1.03bn.

The firm said disposal of the UK's Budgen's chain to independent retailers was progressing as planned, with 110 stores now sold.

"Looking ahead to 2006, our agenda is to continue to grow the business through developing our brands, driving innovation and achieving lowest cost without compromising quality for Musgrave and its retailers while being supported by the best team,"​ said the retailer.

It said it is ready to work hard in the increasingly difficult retail sector, but warned that price rises may be implemented during the next fiscal year.

This comes as Irish retailers get used to the abolition of the Grocery Order last December that banned below-cost selling to retailers. Although consumer food prices were anticipated to fall, Martin said higher input costs will negate the effect at Musgrave.

Related topics: Market Trends

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