Dunnes Stores to follow café chain buy with move for meat processor
Dunnes Stores is planning to make another acquisition following its recent purchase of the Café Sol business.
It has just notified the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of its intention to buy Whelan Food and Meat Processors and Tipperary Sustainable Food Company.
Whelan Food and Meat Processors is owned by Pat Whelan, a renowned butcher in Tipperary, who also owns the award-winning James Whelan Butchers in Clonmel.
It has often featured in reviews as one of the country's best artisan stores. Mr Whelan raises cattle on the family's 200-acre farm in Clonmel.
The butcher also has a presence in three Avoca stores. That part of the business isn't being sold to Dunnes, however.
Whelan Food and Meat Processors has been an unlimited company since 2010, so it no longer has to file accounts with the Companies Office.
The latest set of publicly available accounts show that it made a profit of €271,000 in the year to the end of October 2008.
Tipperary Sustainable Food is owned by Mr Whelan and a company called Easi-build, which is owned by Dublin-based Ernie Kenny. He is also involved in James Whelan Butchers.
The latest set of publicly available accounts for Tipperary Food Company show that it made a €280,000 profit in 2014.
Both firms are involved in the retail sale of meat and related products.
Mr Whelan recently lamented in a blog post on his website that many people don't often recognise the work involved in bringing meat from farm to shop counter.
"In Ireland, sometimes the jobs of butcher or baker don't have the craft recognition they deserve," he said.
Dunnes Stores, headed by Margaret Heffernan and Frank Dunne, bought the Café Sol business last year and plans to incorporate outlets into busy Dunnes stores.
Café Sol has eight outlets in the capital, all of which are in the city centre. One of the outlets is located in the Mater Hospital.
Dunnes is the third-biggest grocery retail chain in the country after SuperValu and Tesco.
According to the latest figures from the research group Kantar, it has a 24pc share.
The retailer has also been advancing plans for the launch of its online grocery delivery service, but exactly when that will launch isn't yet known.
There had been speculation that the service would make its debut during last autumn, but that timetable was perceived to be ambitious.