Friday 17 November 2017

David McWilliams: Superquinn saga sums up our economic tale of woe

IF anything sums up what went wrong with Ireland, it is the saga of Superquinn. On the positive side, if anything shows how we can get out of this mess, it is also the receivership of one of Ireland's best-known brands. Before looking at the receivership and the implications for the rest of the country, let's consider for a moment Superquinn.

In 2001, Feargal Quinn, a man I had never met, asked me to speak at a conference he was hosting. Now it wasn't any old conference, it was a gathering of Europe's top retailers who operate under an umbrella group called EuroCommerce. This organisation represents retail brands and over 100 commercial federations in 27 European countries. These were people who knew their businesses and Feargal Quinn was the president of this organisation.

He was courteous to a fault, which you would expect from the man. But more interesting was the fact that he seemed to know everyone in the business and he understood the business backwards. Here was a retailer to his toes.

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