Musgrave eyes return to growth after sale of British business

SuperValu owner posts €13 million loss as tough conditions prevail in grocery sector

Musgrave’s 2014 sales were relatively flat while it posted an operating profit from €66 million. Photograph: Eric Luke /The Irish Times

Musgrave’s 2014 sales were relatively flat while it posted an operating profit from €66 million. Photograph: Eric Luke /The Irish Times

 

Musgrave, the Cork-based retail group that owns SuperValu and Centra, says it expects to return to profit this year after posting a net loss of €13 million for 2014 on sales of more than €4.6 billion.

Chris Martin, the group’s chief executive, said he expects the business to make money this year after agreeing a sale of its loss-making British business. It also undertook a reorganisation of its business on the island of Ireland aimed at boosting the performance of its brands, which also include Daybreak and Mace.

The group’s 2014 sales were relatively flat, declining by a fraction of a percent, while it posted an operating profit from €66 million.

After exceptional items including writedowns of €70 million versus €142 million the previous year, mostly attributable to its British business, the group operating loss came in at €1.6 million, down from a loss of €95 million in 2013.

With sales in the grocery industry growing by only about 1 per cent annually, Mr Martin said Musgrave is focused on winning share from its competitors to boost its financial performance.

Musgarve is also working on a plan to boost its buying power through a strategic partnership with Booker, the group that has agreed to buy its Budgens and Londis brands in Britain.

It is also considering launching other financial services products after it recently entered the travel insurance market, as well as advancing its plans to launch a mobile phone service using the network of one of the existing operators.

“With the transformation well progressed and given the strong position of our brands, the business is now on track to return to profit in 2015,” said Mr Martin.