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Troubled bakery chain Patisserie Valerie has been saved from collapse in a management buyout backed by Irish private equity firm, Causeway Capital Partners.

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Tesco has announced the appointment of Christine Heffernan as group communications director. She will take up the role on March 2019 and join the Executive Committee, replacing Jane Lawrie who leaves Tesco after 2 1/2 years in the role.

Strong track record at Tesco Ireland

Heffernan has most recently worked as Executive Director to Group CEO Dave Lewis. Prior to that she spent five years as Director of Corporate Affairs in Tesco Ireland, as well as a board director and member of its senior leadership team. In these roles, she worked as part of a team transforming the Irish business and its communications to rebuild trust in the brand.

Experience across sectors

Heffernan has communications experience across a number of sectors including energy, telecoms and financial services. Previously, she has worked at the European Parliament and as a policy advisor at the Treasury in London, experience that could prove valuable for Tesco's Brexit preparations. Heffernan has also been a board member of Threshold, Ireland’s national housing charity, since 2013.

Leading the drive to build trust in the Tesco brand

Commenting on the appointment Group CEO Dave Lewis said: “I’m really pleased to welcome Christine to the Group Comms Director role. She brings a wealth of experience and business insight to the role, as well as energy and deep communications expertise. Strengthening our communications and building trust in our brand are key priorities for us and I look forward to Christine’s leadership in achieving those objectives.”


IGD Tesco Business Update 2019

8 May, London

Dave Lewis and his leadership team invite you to a crucial supplier event to help you stay close to Tesco’s strategic vision in its centenary year.

Find out more »

Convenience retailer Centra has announced sales of €1.63bn in 2018, an increase of 3.6% year-on-year. Centra also plans to open 25 new stores this year.

25 new stores and 80 revamps

Centra, Ireland’s leading convenience retailer, plans to build on its strong sales results by opening 25 new stores throughout 2019, in addition to revamping a further 80 stores.

The new stores and refurbishments are part of a €35m investment through which Centra will roll out the latest thinking in the convenience market, and meet new consumer trends, providing customers with a seamless shopping experience.

Tapping into consumer trends

In July, Centra launched a new premium “Inspired by” range, including products such as Cold Pressed Turmeric Shots and Paleo Superbowls. The provision of healthier choices has become a core element of the Centra proposition, and this range reflects the evolving needs of the Irish consumer who is more health conscious and who’s interest in premium products is rising. Since the launch, the Inspired By range has delivered €6.3m in sales, and looks set to continue this growth.

Centra has also seen success from the Frank and Honest coffee offer available in its stores. Frank and Honest is the leading coffee brand in Ireland, with a growth in volume of 40% in 2018. This success is built upon further due to the launch of capsule and whole bean ranges for at home consumption, a range of coffee accessories and the roll out of in-store cafes.

Building the proposition further

In 2019, Centra is to roll out a new ice cream brand, Moo’d, to over 200 stores following the retailer’s successful introduction of new brands. Seven products will be added to the range, as well as the launch of new take-home packs in three flavours.

Martin Kelleher, Centra Managing Director, commented: “Our record sales performance is testament to the dedication of over 463 Centra store owners across the country who provide market leading stores in convenient locations and our ongoing investment in shaping the future of the convenience market. Responding to consumers, retailers and market trends, Centra has developed a healthier offering and innovative range unrivalled by competitors. We plan to continue our expansion through new initiatives like our Inspired by Centra luxury range, Moo’d ice cream and Frank and Honest Coffee along with driving innovation across all areas of the store. In the past, convenience stores would have been synonymous with the breakfast roll but walking into a Centra today illustrates how the concept has been revolutionized with products like Cold Press Turmeric Shots and Paleo Salads. We aim to stay one step ahead of the competition in this respect by ensuring we stay close to the modern Irish consumer who is looking for health alternatives, innovative ranges and great quality food for those short on time”.

We look at the latest developments from Lidl and Aldi in Ireland.

Discounters continue to gain market share

The discounters are continuing to gain market share in Ireland with the latest Kantar data for the 12 weeks ending 30th December showing that Lidl and Aldi were the strongest performing grocery retailers in Ireland over the Christmas period. Sales value growth was 8.8% for Lidl and 4.6% for Aldi. Aldi's market share during this period was Ireland 10.8%, slightly ahead of Lidl at 10.5%.

Lidl's delivery service now covers all of Dublin

Lidl first introduced its delivery service in 2018 with a limited trial across five postcodes in Dublin. The retailer will now be rolling out the service across the capital with its partner Buymie. There are currently no plans to expand the service outside Dublin, however Lidl has not ruled this out for the future.

Source: Google Play

Buymie is a third-party grocery delivery service that began as a start-up in Dublin. It uses self-employed couriers to fulfil orders place on an app in a similar way to Deliveroo. The app can be used to shop multiple retailers including Tesco. Shoppers can purchase any items sold at Lidl with the exception of the 'Special Buys', as these are often bulky items that are challenging to deliver.

Online is a rapidly growing channel however the cost and complexity of online are not a natural fit for EDLC operators. But as online increasingly becomes the norm discounters risk missing out to competitors.

This is why it is so important for Lidl to continue to invest in evolving its digital capabilities. Alan Stewart, the head of ecommerce at Lidl Ireland said to The Irish Times;

“Our decision to partner with a dedicated on-demand service provider allows us to continue to invest in our expanding network of stores and also provides a real differentiator in the online grocery delivery market”

The rise in third-party delivery services is opening doors for supermarkets allowing them to satisfy the online demand, whilst not having to pay out for the infrastructure developments it requires.

Aldi opens more stores

Aldi has announced plans to open seven more stores in Ireland in 2019. The retailer is continuing to refurbish some of its estate as part of a €60m investment programme. It has said that expanding its network and renovating to 'Project Fresh' will help to futureproof the business. 

Aldi UK and Ireland has achieved carbon neutrality

Aldi has announced that it is now carbon neutral across all its 900 stores and 11 distribution centres. In 2019 it will be offsetting the equivalent of 160,000 tonnes of emissions. This is through various initiatives including the purchase of 100% green electricity, a certified energy management system and a £20m investment in environmentally-friendly refrigeration systems. It is also supporting various projects being delivered by ClimatePartner. For example protecting forests and wildlife, and educating children on environmental conservation.

Aldi has said it will continually review its operations and reduce emissions where possible.

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