Dairygold set to close 13 stores in Munster

Staff will be redeployed in three-year plan

Dairygold is considering closing one third of its stores across Munster following a major review of its agri-trading operations.

The move will cut the co-op's agri-trading network from 39 to 26 stores by the end of 2020.

The 13 stores that have been identified for possible closure are located in: Castletownroche, Carrignavar, Muskerry, Togher, Blarney, Park, Hollyford, Cashel, Araglin, Granagh, Cappamore, Killaloe and Tournafulla.

The closures will take place over a three-year timeframe, but Dairygold said no decisions had been taken on timelines.

"We are now in a period of consultation over the next three years with our elected representatives, employees, customers and other stakeholders," a Dairygold spokesperson said.

The planned closures follow a root-and-branch review of Dairygold's agri-trading division.

This process examined store size, site location and facilities, physical condition, upgrade or refurbishment costs, commercial performance, customer base and long-term commercial potential.

Some of the stores which are in line for possible closure were described by Dairygold as small operations often with one employee and operating three days a week.

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Dairygold insisted that it was fully committed to members having access to all their farm needs and service requirements and that the co-op's agri-trading operations would be beefed up at its remaining 26 locations.

"We envisage that from 2020, Dairygold's retail enhanced store model will comprise 26 stores across Munster, along with our strong Agri Direct Model, Agri E-Commerce site and online service, while out on the field we have a team of area sales managers," the Dairygold spokesperson said.

The co-op said it was unlikely that there would be job losses as a result of the depot closures.

"Our focus will be on the relocation and redeployment of staff in affected stores," a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, both the ICMSA and IFA have claimed that a 1c/l to 2c/l milk price rise was justified for September supplies despite the recent 2.4pc fall in the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) index.

IFA dairy chairman Sean O'Leary said that butterfat and cheese prices were historically high, and EU commodity returns remained strong at 41c/l. "After a 5c/l processing cost is deducted, this would suggest a price equivalent of 36c/l + VAT," Mr O'Leary said.

Gerald Quain of ICMSA claimed that market indicators justified a price of 37c/l for September milk.

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