Tesco denies Irish supplier claims

TESCO Ireland’s chief executive has hit back at claims the supermarket is abandoning its Irish supplier base.

Tony Keohane said Tesco is “open for business” for Irish suppliers to come and talk to them and is fully committed to Irish products.

He said that the supermarket has stopped stocking 350 Irish lines because they were not selling, adding that any Irish products for sale in Tesco stores that are selling well will continue to be stocked.

“Most suppliers are happily working with us like they always do. The range of goods that we stock, particularly of Irish goods, is the same as we have always stocked and it would be crazy for us to change that. We have no intentions of changing that,” he said.

Tesco has come under fire in recent months as reports emerged that it was considering substituting Irish brands with products sourced in Britain. However Mr Keohane said: “Irish products are in our stores and will continue to be in our stores as long as people buy them.”

He said, in certain cases, Tesco has removed the middleman, which could be the Irish wing of an international supplier, and gone straight to the supplier or the manufacturer – whether that’s in Britain or Europe and is bringing the goods in directly to its stores.

“This is a very necessary move to give customers the lowest price possible. It is going to save consumers up to a third off their shopping,” said Mr Keohane. “We are absolutely committed to the Irish supplier base. There is nobody more of a supporter to the Irish supplier base than us.”

Tesco launched an initiative called Change for Good earlier this year, which sees it cutting prices on a long-term basis at all its Irish stores.

Yesterday, SuperValu announced that it is investing €30 million in a price cut initiative. It said the average trolley of goods at its stores has dropped by almost €70 since January.

It said an additional 1,000 products have been reduced in all its 194 stores, bringing to 3,000 the number of permanent price cuts in-store so far this year.

SuperValu managing director, Donal Horgan, said: “SuperValu is a business that listens to what the Irish consumer wants and, given our market share performance, which is growing ahead of our competitors, we know we are getting it right.

“As always, these deep price cuts are being delivered without compromising our support for Irish suppliers, brands and jobs, as has been our commitment all along. No one can match SuperValu’s credentials when it comes to supporting Irish and we will be continuing with this policy going forward.”

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