Centra sales up 3pc, new stores coming
Sales at Centra stores rose 3pc to €1.59bn last year, with the chain also noting a similar rise in the increase in the volume of sales.
Controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group, the figure represents sales at Centra's more than 450 stores here.
It does not include sales from its smaller footprint in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Centra managing director Martin Kelleher said the sales increase had been achieved against flat inflation during the year.
He said Centra plans to open 20 new stores this year as part of a €20m investment.
The net number of new stores might well be lower. In 2016, Centra said it would open 16 new stores.
Mr Kelleher said the net number of new Centra stores opened last year was eight.
He added that Centra had been buoyed last year by continuing developments in its food offering, as well as its Frank & Honest coffee concept.
Meanwhile, Retail Ireland said the second half of last year saw a slowdown in retail sales, with a dip in consumer confidence and weaker sterling driving shoppers north blamed.
In its latest industry monitor, the lobby group said retailers saw a "worrying downturn" in performance during the second half of 2016.
Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said there were disappointing results across the board over the Christmas trading period, with some retail categories coming under particular pressure.
Exchequer returns for January, however, showed that more than €2.3bn in VAT was collected.
That's up €214m, or more than 10pc, year-on-year.