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Northern Ireland shop sales rise can't make up for other falls, warns Musgrave boss


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Protection measures have been implemented in shops. Photo by Aaron McCracken

Protection measures have been implemented in shops. Photo by Aaron McCracken

Image by Brian Thompson Photogra

Protection measures have been implemented in shops. Photo by Aaron McCracken

The head of convenience retailer and wholesaler Musgrave NI has said an increase in store sales has not made up for a fall in other parts of the business since the start of lockdown.

The Cork-based business owns nearly 300 stores in Northern Ireland, with Centra, SuperValu, Mace and Daybreak all in its portfolio.

Musgrave NI managing director Michael McCormack said many stores had experienced a rise in business, particularly those in housing estates and rural areas.

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Michael McCormack

Michael McCormack

Image by Brian Thompson Photogra

Michael McCormack

He added across such stores the average transaction value had risen by between 25% and 30% per visit.

But he said others, such as Centras in Belfast city centre, had closed due to their usual footfall from office workers being cut off.

And he said the foodservice part of the business, which supplies hospitality businesses like restaurants and bars, had suffered, along with parts of the business which supply alcohol - including Drinks Inc, the distributor Musgrave took over last year.

Mr McCormack told Business Telegraph that as the year goes on and restrictions are lifted, hospitality sales will go up.

"It's not clear how long will it take to get back to where it was but I think middle or end of next year," he said.

Musgrave employs around 1,500 people in Northern Ireland. It is one of the island's biggest businesses, and reported sales of €3.9bn in 2018.

Belfast Telegraph