herald

Saturday 1 October 2016

SuperValu looks into going global with own brands

Chris Martin of Musgraves
Chris Martin of Musgraves

The SuperValu brand could start making an appearance on shop shelves around the world, as Cork-based retail group Musgrave plots a targeted internationalisation of its products.

Musgrave chief executive Chris Martin told the Herald, while its plans are at a very early stage, the group is looking at how it might emulate retailers such as UK-based Waitrose, which sells its products to other retailers around the globe.

"We believe there is a real opportunity, particularly with our own brand, that we can create export opportunities," said Mr Martin. "It's early days. We're investigating it."

Appetite

Referring to Waitrose, he pointed out that Dunnes Stores, for example, has stocked their products in the past. Waitrose sells its products in about 60 countries.

"The appetite for the sorts of products that we're developing, and working with our suppliers on, is unique," said Mr Martin, pointing to hundreds of products that have been launched under its own brand Signature Tastes label.

He said SuperValu's Food Academy initiative - a programme developed in conjunction with Bord Bia and local enterprises offices - has been successful in helping to drive sales at the retailer's stores. The programme supports hundreds of small businesses in developing their products and getting them on shelves.

"The opportunity we're looking at is working with distributors and talking directly with retailers about how we can sell our product in (to their networks)," said Mr Martin.

"It plays partly to the Irish diaspora - but, more importantly, it places the quality that we are developing in focus," he added.

He said healthy products developed for SuperValu could present a good opportunity for the retailer.

He added that Musgrave now has an executive examining the potential for exports, but that they have only taken on the task within the past few weeks.

"We'll wait and see, but it's about looking at different ways in which we can extend our offer," the chief executive said.

However, he added it's not clear yet whether the SuperValu name would be used for exports.

"It's too early to say at the moment," he said. "The reality is that you've got to make your product work in the local market - but you can still go into other markets.

"It's about looking at the catalogue of products, seeing who's interested, seeing what retailers want - and the products absolutely reinforce the sorts of quality that some of the markets are looking for."

SuperValu is the country's biggest grocery retailer, with most of the stores operated by franchisees.

Family-owned, Musgrave also owns the Centra and Daybreak brands here.

Musgrave generated revenue of €3.7bn and a pre-tax profit of €52.8m from continuing operations last year.

It has recently introduced a number of initiatives at its Centra and SuperValu stores that have boosted sales, including an online sandwich ordering service at some Centras.

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