Musgrave Group has opened a €1.7m cash-and-carry shop for Limerick under its fast-growing Food Emporium label.
The branch on Clare Street is the tenth Food Emporium outlet opened across the island, including three each in Dublin and Northern Ireland, by the group's Musgrave MarketPlace division.
The outlets are designed to offer more products and customer services than a typical food wholesaler, including 'click and collect' delivery of pre-ordered goods straight to the shopper's vehicle outside.
Musgrave MarketPlace managing director Michael McCormack said it has invested €12.6m at its 10 outlets over the past four years to "offer a first-class customer experience but also challenge the perception of the traditional cash-and-carry business".
He said the Limerick outlet's customers, which include local hotels, bars, restaurants, retailers and other small firms - would have more than 10,000 products to choose from, including an extended fresh produce aisle.
He said the store provides goods and services to meet tastes and demands "that were not present ten years ago". These include 'bespoke meat cutting', kitchen equipment, an in-house 'trends expert', classes for chefs and retailer workshops.
Aldi is also expanding, with a new 1,140-square-metre store in Belmullet, its fourth outlet in Co Mayo and 143rd nationwide.
The Belmullet branch features the wider aisles of Aldi's 'Project Fresh' design. Aldi says it's spending €60m revamping other stores' internal layout along these lines.
"The spacious design means it is easier for customers to pick up what they need," said store manager Colin Cronin.
The Belmullet outlet has a staff of 16, including 11 recruited from the town.
Aldi says it's spent €37m on Mayo suppliers in the past 12 months.
These include Western Brand poultry in Ballyhaunis; Carr & Sons seafood in Killala; and UltraPure skincare, O'Haras bakery and CPAC Foods, all based in Foxford.
The German discount grocer has plans to build 19 more Irish stores.
Both Musgrave and Aldi touted the green credentials of their new shopping facilities.
Musgrave said the Limerick cash-and-carry features low-power refrigeration units and LED lighting that would save the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 60 homes.
Aldi said its store is entirely powered by electricity that is generated by wind-turbines.
It also planted 8,600 trees in a nearby site.