Retail returns to health as Barry Group opens 35 stores
RETAILER the Barry Group is opening 35 new stores.
The openings, to be completed by the end of this year, will create around 300 jobs.
The Mallow-based retail group, which owns the Costcutter chain of convenience stores and Carry Out off-licence brand, said consumer spending is in recovery mode.
Some 20 of its 35 new openings are Costcutter stores. Ten have already been opened, including outlets at Spiddal in Galway, Clonskeagh in Dublin, Monaghan town and Allenwood in Kildare. The remaining 15 openings are Carry Out off-licences.
All new stores will be operated as franchises.
The Barry Group is benefiting from dramatic changes in shopping habits post-recession. Convenience chains, budget stores and German discounters Lidl and Aldi have all gained ground at the expense of traditional supermarket giants like Tesco and Dunnes. Costcutter expanded its generic range to target thrifty consumers.
The downside, for the retail group, was fierce price competition. September figures from the Central Statistics Office showed food and drink prices rose at their slowest level since March 2012. Grocery price inflation was 1.5pc, down from 1.9pc in the three months before.
"Managing director Jim Barry has made huge structural changes at the group in the last 15 years, from buying to marketing to how we manage sales. That has started to come to fruition," said Barry Group head of sales Paul Roche. The group is also benefiting from growing interest in community-based retailing, he said.
Many of its stores are located in rural locations and run as franchises by members of small and rural communities, which consumers increasingly prefer for ethical reasons, he added.
One new Costcutter store, in Monaghan, will invest 100pc of its profits in community projects.
The Barry Group has operated for 60 years. It owns the Quik Pick retail franchise alongside Costcutter and Carry Out. It also operates wholesale food and alcohol networks.
It recently invested €1m in a centralised chilled distribution solution, which is expected to add up to €200m in revenues over five years.