Irish wholesaler Musgrave Group has reported improved results for the financial year ending December 27, 2014 and predicted a return to profit in 2015 as the business begins to benefit from a multi-year transformation plan and a recovery in the Irish economy.
The Cork-based symbol group and wholesaler (the largest privately-owned firm in Ireland) recorded sales of €4.6bn (0.7% down on 2013), which after exceptional items, produced a loss for the year after tax of €13m. This loss is a marked improvement on 2013’s €113m, reflecting an increase in operating profits and a much lower level of exceptional expenses. Musgrave said it was “now on track to return to profitability in 2015.”
Following the integration of Superquinn, supermarket chain SuperValu recorded retail sales in line with last year of €2.6bn and now serves over 2.6 million customers every week, enabling it to challenge Tesco as Ireland’s largest retailer. During 2014, SuperValu continued to focus on fresh food range and innovation agenda, while also investing more in Irish sourcing, value and customer service, which seems to be paying off – much as Budgens, another Musgrave-owned chain here in the UK, has done.
Centra, the group’s c-store chain, saw growth of 3% and consolidated its position as the number one convenience retailer in the market. Centra’s sales growth was underpinned by investment in an own brand range of 1,300 Irish sourced products, the introduction of an all-day fresh food range and effective promotions. Centra also stepped up activity to enable shoppers to make healthier choices, with new healthy eating product launched and improved nutritional labelling.
Marketplace, Musgrave’s wholesale brand for unaffiliated retailers and foodservice customers, saw strong sales growth up 8% on the previous year. MarketPlace is now the number one partner to Ireland’s foodservice industry, where it services more than 45,000 hotels, restaurants and hospitality businesses. The acquisition of Allied Foods, which was completed during the year, should support the growth of the business and strengthen its offer going forward.
Since last financial year end, Musgrave has agreed to sell its UK brands Londis and Budgens to Booker, which operates successfulk fascias including Premier and Family Shopper (the deal is currently subject to the approval of the UK Competition and Markets Authority).