Strong Christmas helps SuperValu sales hit record €2.58bn
SuperValu, the grocery giant battling Tesco to be Ireland's biggest food retailer, enjoyed record sales of €2.58bn in 2014 following the addition of 24 former Superquinn stores to the business last February.
The franchise chain, which employs about 14,500 people, now holds a 24.9pc market share and serves over 2.6 million customers a week. It doesn't give a profit figure because profits are shared by individual stores.
SuperValu plans to invest €18m in opening four new stores this year.
"We are satisfied with our current trading performance, having finished the year well with a good Christmas trading period," managing director Martin Kelleher told the SuperValu national conference in Killarney yesterday. "SuperValu can continue to go from strength to strength in 2015. We will continue to drive the momentum behind SuperValu into 2015 through our food leadership programme, commitment to local suppliers through initiatives like Food Academy and exceptional value."
The Food Academy programme is a joint initiative between SuperValu, Bord Bia, the Local Enterprise Office Network to support small food companies in Ireland. Around 200 small food producers are involved and they generate sales worth €10m.
SuperValu said yesterday that three-quarter of the products on the group's shelves are Irish and the franchise purchases almost €2bn worth of goods from Irish suppliers which help to sustain 30,000 jobs.
SuperValu and Tesco are neck-and-neck in the race to claim Ireland's biggest grocery retailer crown. Figures published last week show that Tesco controls just 0.3 percentage points more of the market than SuperValu, with Dunnes still in third spot as it spends tens of millions of euro to lure shoppers by offering money-off vouchers.
Data from research group Kantar Worldpanel shows that Tesco's market share slipped 2.1pc to 25.2pc in the 12 weeks to February 1.
Tesco has been fighting to maintain control of the top spot since Cork-based retail group Musgrave, which controls the SuperValu brand, rebranded all Superquinn stores as SuperValu outlets this time last year.