Wholesale firm opens €1.5m facility extension

LEADING Irish wholesale and distribution firm, the Barry Group officially opened a €1.5 million extension to its state-of-the-art central distribution base in north Cork yesterday.

The new 145,000sq ft facility in Mallow, opened by Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe, will help accelerate the group’s ambitious three-year growth plan.

The company, which employs 240 staff, plans to open eight new Buy Lo stores before the end of the year, bringing to 10 the total number of such stores.

The company also plans to double its number of Carry Out specialist off-licence stores by 2012.

Mr O’Keeffe hailed the Barry Group’s investment and said its ambitious expansion plan is another signal that confidence is growing in the retail sector.

He also said it is a sign that Ireland’s economic recovery is under way.

“There have been important signs of stabilisation and recovery in retail sales so far this year and the challenge now is to continue on that path as we emerge from recession,” he said.

“The Barry Group is a major local employer and the benchmark for excellence in the wholesale and distribution field.

“This expansion shows there is cause for confidence – confidence to lend, spend, invest and hire.”

Barry Group managing director Jim Barry, a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2010, described yesterday as “an exciting milestone” for the group.

“This is a highly strategic investment for us and by amalgamating our central distribution base, we now have the opportunity to aggressively grow our core wholesale distribution business as well as cater for the extra volume created by our recent acquisition of Carry Out business of 50 specialist off-licences and the roll out of Buy Lo, the new branded discount chain,” he said.

“This added capacity will enable us to explore other further growth and acquisition opportunities as they arise.”

The Barry Group was founded in 1955 by James A Barry, originally selling fruit and vegetables in the north Cork area.

Today, the group supplies products to more than 700 stores around the country, including 237 affiliated stores in the Republic of Ireland operating under the Costcutter, Carry Out, Buy Lo and Quik Pick brands.

Recently filed year-end results show that the Barry Group outperformed the entire grocery industry in one of the most difficult year’s for the Irish grocery sector.

Last year, the group recorded a €3 million profit – a 12% increase on 2008.

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