Musgrave to ‘redefine convenience’ with ambitious expansion plans
Michael McCormack, managing director of Musgrave NI.
Grocery and convenience retailer, Musgrave NI, which owns the SuperValu, Centra, MACE and MarketPlace brands, has announced ambitious plans to open up to 20 new stores in Northern Ireland in 2019, creating around 500 new jobs and revamping an additional 40 stores, as part of a significant £28m investment.
The ambitious growth strategy is part of Musgrave NI’s vision to ‘redefine convenience’ through the creation of refreshed, inviting, modern stores that challenge the status quo.
The platform for growth for Musgrave NI is built upon an incredibly positive performance in Musgrave Group. Within the Group, turnover grew by almost 4% to €3.9bn last year, with pre-tax profits rising 5.6% to €84.5m. Across the island of Ireland, SuperValu grew sales last year by 1.5% to €2.9bn, with Centra growing 4% to €1.9bn. In Northern Ireland, SuperValu, Centra, MACE and MarketPlace delivered significant growth in 2018, with positive year on year sales growth across all brands.
“These results provide a solid platform for us to grow our presence in the NI market and we very much leverage our Group strength when it comes to buying, tapping into expertise and adapting concepts that we see working across our business,” said Michael McCormack, managing director of Musgrave NI.
“While 2018 was a good year, we know we can’t stand still. Our plans are ambitious but achievable. For us, this is all about how we’ll realise our vision to ‘redefine convenience’ in Northern Ireland.’
“We have been working towards achieving this vision across our SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands; focusing on what matters to our shoppers – bringing healthier, restaurant quality food to convenience and continuously innovating across all aspects of convenience.”
Over the last two years, artisan on-the-go coffee brand, Frank and Honest has been introduced to 110 SuperValu, Centra and Mace stores across Northern Ireland. With over 700 Frank and Honest locations across the island of Ireland, Frank and Honest is now the largest on-the-go coffee brand on the island.
New food concepts including Green Kitchen – a freshly prepared standalone salad bar – has grown significantly, off the back of consumer demand for fresher, healthier options from consumers. The company has also seen success in of its new XO Donuts brand, which it launched in 2018. To date, in excess of 40,000 donuts have been sold.
The 20 new store openings will be made up of a mix of new store developments and acquisitions, as Musgrave seeks to convert retailers and buy new sites.
“Our aim to redefine convenience is underpinned by our ability to grow our estate across the SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands,” said McCormack. “That’s why we’ve been extremely active in the market – we’re opening brand new stores – as we’ve done with the recent opening of Gracey’s Centra City Quays, Belfast and in Mallusk, where we are building a new Centra store this year.
“First and foremost, we want to work with the best independent retailers and grow business together. However, as we seek to grow and offer our existing retailers the benefits of scale, we are looking at converting retailers and saying to those that are thinking of selling their business, freehold or leasehold – that we are very much open for business.”
Revamping existing stores within its estate is also a core part of Musgrave’s ongoing investment and growth strategy. Retailers that have completed refresh programmes are demonstrating robust sales growth. There’s an impressive pipeline of recent refreshes – more than 80 in recent years – including Lilley’s Centra at Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Moran’s Centra Strand Road, Derry-Londonderry, Watson’s Centra Cloughey, SuperValu Comber and SuperValu Kings Road. The next refurbishment will take place at SuperValu Lisburn.
Looking to 2019, the Musgrave NI brands will tap into a number of consumer trends and the merging of retail and foodservice to achieve further growth, bringing more new concepts to the Northern Ireland market.
One of those new concepts is Caramico pizza, a concept using authentic pizza ovens to offer a freshly made pizza in- store. It has been rolled out successfully by Musgrave in the Republic of Ireland, driven by a high-quality product that surpasses other established pizza brands. Key to the concept is a ‘for now’ and ‘for later’ offering for consumers. A rotisserie style chicken concept will also be rolled out following successful trials.
Last year, Musgrave celebrated 35 years in business in Northern Ireland, is a committed local employer of over 5,000 people across its business along with a dedicated partner of almost 130 retail families within the province.