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Multi-million pound deal leads to rebranding of Co Armagh supermarket



Philip and Neville Woods with SuperValu sales director Nigel Maxwell (centre) outside the rebranded Richhill

Philip and Neville Woods with SuperValu sales director Nigel Maxwell (centre) outside the rebranded Richhill

Philip and Neville Woods with SuperValu sales director Nigel Maxwell (centre) outside the rebranded Richhill

A Co Armagh Eurospar supermarket has been sold, now becoming part of rival Musgrave Group's operations.

FruitField Eurospar has been sold by the Reid family after 21 years in business on Portadown Road, Richhill. The store is believed to have been sold for a multi-million pound sum.

Buyers Philip and Neville Woods trade with wholesaler Musgrave, the parent company of SuperValu. They also own SuperValu stores in Tandragee and Richhill, as well as a Centra in Portadown.

However, the Reid family had traded with supplier Henderson Group, which owns the Spar and Eurospar brands, and supplies the stores.

Now the supermarket will be rebranded as a SuperValu - becoming Musgrave's 36th SuperValu in Northern Ireland.

Cork-based Musgrave also has 89 Centra stores and 85 Mace shops here, and recently opened a Centra at City Quays in Belfast.

Five years ago the Reid family invested £5m in FruitField Eurospar as it reopened on a new site.

At the time it was estimated that the foodhall had around 15,000 customers per week.

A spokeswoman for Musgrave said it would be "business as usual" for the store's 80 staff as the rebrand takes place over the next few months.

She said the 8,000 sq ft store would have an improved product range and store layout, an extended food-to-go section and an outlet for Musgrave's coffee brand, Frank and Honest.

Eric Reid said: "We are proud to have developed the business over the last 20 years into a strong, community store and we're pleased to pass the baton on to another leading family business who we have no doubt will build on these strong foundations with their ambitious plans for the future."

The convenience store sector in Northern Ireland has become increasingly competitive, as both Henderson Group and Musgrave compete for market share with one another - as well as the big multiples like Tesco and Sainsbury's.

However, it's not unusual for a store to be sold and to transfer to another brand name.

Philip Woods added: "We are excited to take on this site and to continue to build on the great service delivered by Eric and family. Over the coming months we will work to redevelop the store in line with the SuperValu identity. It will be business as usual for the staff and our local suppliers as we build on the retail credentials of FruitField."

This week, grocery market figures from information company Kantar said 'symbol' operators like Spar and SuperValu had increased the value of their sales in Northern Ireland by 1.5% over the last year. That was stronger growth than Tesco at 1%, Sainsbury's at 0.2% and Asda at 0.1%.

However, discounter Lidl grew the value of its sales by 7.6%.

Nigel Maxwell, sales director for SuperValu NI, said: "We are proud to support the Woods family with this ambitious acquisition and to see the SuperValu brand take on a flagship store."

Belfast Telegraph