Monday 16 September 2019

SuperValu owner Musgrave turns to non-UK food suppliers due to Brexit

Chris Martin, CEO of Musgrave. Photo: David Conachy.
Chris Martin, CEO of Musgrave. Photo: David Conachy.
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Musgrave, the owner of the SuperValu and Centra brands, is preparing for Brexit by switching from some suppliers in the UK to ones in Europe.

The chief executive of the Cork-based group, Chris Martin, said Musgrave was working to ensure that customers here do not face higher prices due to tariffs.

"The reality of it is the UK being outside of Europe will mean that there are tariffs. It will mean that a product that's imported into Ireland from the UK will have a range of tariffs, ranging from zero to whatever.

"Our philosophy is very much to make sure that we have the product, that we absolutely protect the consumer from that level of inflation," he told the Sunday Independent in an interview.

"The reality of it is that we're working through how to ensure that prices are properly managed. And that has meant some decisions around where we source our product from.

"So rather than taking it from the UK, we are maybe taking it from Europe."

He said its strong reliance on Irish suppliers would also help.

The company bought premium food retail Donnybrook Fair in a €25m deal earlier this year.

Martin said it was "a great addition, a business that really carries a high-end food credential, in terms of its products and its recognition. And for us that's very much around targeting the high end grocery market."

Martin said that Musgrave, which is majority owned by the extended Musgrave family, was open to buying more food businesses although the market is limited.

"The reality of it is there are not many opportunities available."

It is also developing its own brands such as Frank and Honest coffee.

'We're working through how to ensure that prices are properly managed. And that has meant some decisions around where we source our product,' says CEO Chris Martin

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