Unsustainable’ SuperValu in Drogheda to be liquidated

Decision to pull shutters on town-centre store could lead to 24 redundancies

SuperValu has faced intense competition in Drogheda. The company said the  store had closed “due to difficult trading conditions.”  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

SuperValu has faced intense competition in Drogheda. The company said the store had closed “due to difficult trading conditions.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A liquidator is expected to be appointed to the independently owned SuperValu store in Drogheda, Co Louth, which the company has described as “unsustainable”. Staff were informed yesterday morning when they arrived for work that the store was closing.

“Regrettably we are announcing the closure of our store in Drogheda due to difficult trading conditions at the store over a sustained trading period,” SuperValu said in a statement. The company said the store was independently owned and operated by Regina Foley and Danny Bowe.

“It is proposed that a liquidator will be appointed in due course,” the statement continued.“This decision will potentially lead to redundancies for the six full-time and 18 part-time staff members. The store will cease to operate today, 2nd December, 2016.”

The company said the decision did not reflect “the quality of the work of our colleagues at the store” and thanked its staff for their support. It pointed to “difficult trading conditions” over a sustained period. “We will now enter a consultation period with colleagues and provide outplacement support to assist them in finding alternative employment,” it added.

The affected staff are understood to not be unionised.

Competition

Drogheda town centre retailers including SuperValu have in recent years been battling against competition from Aldi, Lidl and Tesco, all of which operate on the outskirts of the town. Dunnes and Marks & Spencer also operate a short distance from the shuttered SuperValu outlet.

Labour Senator Gerald Nash, who is from Drogheda and is a former minister for jobs, hit out at the incumbent Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, saying the news “came like a bolt out of the blue.”

“As the Drogheda SuperValu staff look ahead to a Christmas without a job, the Minister for Jobs continues to sit on her hands refusing to change the law to better protect workers caught up in liquidations of this nature,” he said, calling for implementation of the Duffy Cahill report, which recommended measures to protect workers in a Clerys-type liquidation.

It particular, it proposed an automatic entitlement to a 30-day consultation period for all collective redundancy situations - including in the context of insolvency.

In response to Mr Nash’s comments, a spokeswoman for Minister Mitchell O’Connor said her department had conducted a public consultation on the Duffy Cahill report and considered the submissions received to be important in terms of assessing how the suggested reforms could operate in practice and in identifying any unintended consequences.

“These submissions will inform the response to the report which will be brought forward for consideration by Government in the new year,” she said.

The spokeswoman noted that the Company Law Review Group is also considering ways to ensure better safeguards for employees and its work is progressing.