All over the shop: an A to Z of supermarkets
Grab your trolley and let’s take a whistle-stop tour of the aisles, from the growth of Aldi to, well, Z
Value It is what all stores promise us. Whether they deliver depends on how loyal (or gullible) you are. Photograph: Thinkstock
When it entered the Irish market a decade ago it was considered an oddball outsider with unfamiliar brands and a random assortment of jackhammers and blow torches. Times have changed and the German discounter is now the fastest-growing supermarket in Ireland and has the highest loyalty rates among Irish shoppers. A recent survey found 43 per cent of its customers said there was “nowhere else they would prefer to shop” for food and grocery items.
When it comes to the demon drink, we have never had it so cheap. Before the euro changeover in 2002, a can of Budweiser in an off-licence cost about £1.55 (€1.97). Today seven cans cost just €10 – or €1.42 each. When alcopops were launched a decade ago they sold for about €3 each. Today they cost less than €1.50. Just five retailers – Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Centra, Spar and Costcutter – control 95 per cent of all carry-out trade. Tesco accounts for more than 50 per cent of it.
In 2009 hundreds of thousands of us routinely crossed the Border in search of better value, ignoring our politicians, who exhorted us to do our civic duty and turn our backs on the bargains. Today, however, with sterling weaker, and prices in the Republic becoming more competitive, fewer make the trip.
Dine in for two
Marks & Spencer isn’t cheap but it can sometimes offer amazing value for money. Years on from its introduction, we still love its dine-in-for-two offers. Typically these include a main course, a side, a dessert and a bottle of wine for €13.50. It used to be €12.50, but we have to pay more now because the Government added €1 on to the price of a bottle of wine in the last budget. Thanks for that, Michael.
Every little helps
Tesco has its critics – hardly surprising, given it is the biggest retailer in the State, with a market share of more than 27 per cent. Despite the flak it gets, it is very important to the economy and employs more than 15,000 people. It accounts for more than 20 per cent of all the Irish produce that is sold in the UK and is worth €2 billion to the local economy each year.
Quinn (right) founded the company that still carries his name – although not for long – in Dundalk in 1960. It grew into a 24-store chain where the customer really was king. The quality of the produce was generally top-notch – including the famous expensive sausage, initially made in-store but now outsourced to Larry Goodman’s ABP – and the man himself led from the front and was often seen on the shop floor. Then, in 2005, he sold his shop to Select Retail Holdings for €450 million. It must rank as one of the most canny business decisions every taken by an Irish person.