Centra eyes market share increase with €35m store plan

Convenience retail outlet Centra said it plans to open 25 new stores this year as part of a €35m investment, as it attempts to increase its share in a market dominated by bigger rivals.

According to figures from shopping statistics agency Kantar Worldpanel, the Irish grocery market is dominated by Dunnes Stores, Tesco and SuperValu with a combined market share of around 68%, while German discounters Aldi and Lidl have 10% each.

Centra falls into Kantar's "other outlets" category, which had a share of 11.6% in the last quarter of 2018.

The so-called "convenience retailer" is owned by Cork-headquartered Musgrave Group, which also owns SuperValu.

The brand has more than 460 stores and saw sales of €1.63bn in 2018, an increase of 3.6% year on year.

As well as the 25 new stores, Centra said it would revamp 80 stores and create 375 new jobs this year.

It said it could not reveal the locations of the new stores for commercially sensitive reasons.

Centra managing director Martin Kelleher said its record sales performance was in part due to developing a healthier offering and innovation.

"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," he said.

The convenience market had evolved from the "breakfast roll" image into healthier options and higher-end affordable food, Mr Kelleher said.

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