Musgrave ties up with Alibaba to export SuperValu products to China

Date : 22 December 2016

Irish wholesale retailer Musgrave, the company behind SuperValu and Centra, has struck a deal with the Alibaba Group to export products direct to consumers in China.

Flagship SuperValu virtual storefront on Tmall Global

Musgrave will open a flagship SuperValu e-commerce storefront on Tmall Global, making it the first Irish retailer with a presence there (UK retailers Sainsbury's and Waitrose already have a presence there). The storefront will be offered over time "as a potential route to market" for Irish food producers seeking access to China. Musgrave will initially supply up to 40 own brand ambient products including SuperValu breakfast cereals, coffee, jam, biscuits and healthy snacks amongst a range of other goods.

Chris Martin, Musgrave CEO, said: “Our core business in Ireland is performing well and our grocery retail and wholesale brands occupy leadership positions in their respective markets. We are exploring new opportunities to grow our business including export and we are excited by the opportunity to partner with Alibaba Group.

“In the past five years Chinese consumers are increasingly purchasing overseas through online shopping. We expect that the heritage of SuperValu and the provenance of our products will be attractive to Chinese consumers. They are seeking out western foods from trusted sources and as we develop in China we will be working closely with Bord Bia and our Irish suppliers who have a reputation for authenticity and quality. As part of our commitment to them we look forward to exploring the new opportunities which the growing Chinese market can offer. Alibaba provides the ideal platform for us to take our first steps on this journey”.

David Lloyd, Director, UK/Ireland & Nordics for Alibaba Group, added: “Chinese consumers have a desire to discover high quality brands from around the world that they can trust and enjoy. Because of Musgrave’s long history of providing quality food produce, we are delighted to be working with them to bring their high quality SuperValu range to Chinese consumers via our Tmall Global platform.”

SuperValu fights for top spot in Irish market

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland for the 12 weeks ending 4 December 2016, reveal tight competition at the top as SuperValu and Dunnes Stores draw level to share the crown of Ireland’s largest grocer. The two chain’s now capture 22.5% of the Irish grocery market each.

SuperValu held the position of Ireland's largest supermarket for the majority of 2016 but a strong H2 from Dunnes saw them leapfrog Tesco into second place and nudge ahead of SuperValu before the two drew level in the latest results.