Sunday 19 November 2017

Musgrave UK profit slump due to 'lack of discipline'

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

MUSGRAVE has blamed a "lack of discipline" in its UK division for a major slump in profits.

The grocery group made a pre-tax and exceptionals profit of €60m in 2013, down 16pc on the year before, it revealed yesterday – and took a €142.7m hit from exceptional costs on top of that. Sales of €4.8bn were flat on the year before.

The vast majority of these exceptional costs related to its UK business, including substantial writedowns associated with Budgens, the British convenience chain it bought in 2002.

Integrating its SuperValu and Superquinn chains, which the company merged earlier this year, also cost it €12m.

This integration process is not finished and costs will also impact its 2014 results, chief executive Chris Martin said.

The company did not maintain sufficient discipline with its British independent operators as it rushed to sign up new ones without maintaining standards, Mr Martin told the Irish Independent, which hurt profits.

A turnaround programme has now been put in place in Britain aimed at reversing this, led by former Monsoon Accessorize boss Peter Ridler.

Its Irish business had a better year. With the addition of former Superquinn stores, Supervalu now has a market share of 25.2pc – making it the largest grocery retailer in the country. The roll-out of a new line of premium own-brand products in recent months, Signature Taste, has been very successful, the company said.

It was Centra, however, which showed the most promise. It is now the fastest growing grocer in the country besides discount giants Lidl and Aldi. Another 20 Centras are scheduled to open this year.

Irish Independent

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