Belfast Telegraph

Musgrave enjoys surge in online Chinese customers

By Simon Rowe

Cork-based retail group Musgrave - which owns the Centra and Mace convenience brands - has notched up an estimated 40,000 customers in China since its own-brand products launched on internet giant Alibaba in March.

Musgrave started exporting SuperValu products to China on St Patrick's Day this year and business has grown steadily, with the retail group considering expanding its range to include products from other branded Irish suppliers.

Musgrave - which also controls the SuperValu brand - uses Alibaba's Tmall ecommerce platform to sell SuperValu breakfast cereals, coffee, jam, biscuits and other products to consumers.

Chinese shoppers are increasingly purchasing overseas products through online shopping.

Alibaba is China's biggest ecommerce group, handling more transactions each year than eBay and Amazon combined. Jack Ma, its chairman, pledges to serve two billion consumers around the world within 20 years.

Musgrave offers 40 own-brand products for sale on Tmall Global, selling directly to Chinese consumers. The company is the first Irish firm with a presence on the platform. Its top-selling products are SuperValu Wheat Biscuits and Signature Tastes Muesli.

It has a SuperValu storefront on the Tmall Global website. A large number of retailers, such as Sainsbury's, Costco from the US, Spain's Dia and Germany's Metro also have storefronts on the website.

"Working with Alibaba has allowed Musgrave to enter the Chinese market and we are developing our understanding of the Chinese consumer," said David O'Flynn, head of business development at Musgrave Group.

"As our understanding grows we plan to tailor our range of SuperValu own brand products and potentially expand the range to include products from other branded Irish suppliers."

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