Ireland’s number one convenience retailer Centra has announced plans to open 30 new stores and revamp a further 100, creating a total of 400 new jobs as part of a €30 million investment.
The expansion forms part of Centra’s ongoing transformation as the retailer’s healthy convenience offering continues to grow following its brand repositioning – Live Every Day – two years ago.
The continued shift by consumers for healthier options as part of living a balanced lifestyle and the rollout of Frank and Honest, the company’s gourmet coffee brand, across the store network helped drive Centra’s commercial performance last year.
Since repositioning the Centra brand in 2016, the company has adopted a healthier, more innovative product offering and reshaped the in-store experience to encourage shoppers to opt for healthier choices. In the past year alone, sales of its Grab & Go healthy sandwich range rose sharply by 24%, impulse water purchases were also up 10% on the previous year, and sales of salad boxes rose to almost €2 million.
The Frank and Honest gourmet coffee brand, which is available in 370 of its stores, also performed strongly last year. The Frank and Honest offering led to a sharp rise in sales for Centra in the hot beverages category, which doubled in 2017.
As part of its growth strategy, Centra continues to respond to customers’ demand for healthy convenience through the introduction of innovative digital solutions. These include the Beat the Queue app, which allows busy lunch-break shoppers to pre-order sandwiches and avoid waiting. The Beat the Queue service will be introduced to over 100 stores in 2018.
Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, said: “We are very happy with our performance in 2017 in what is an extremely competitive market. Our decision to reposition Centra in response to changing consumer trends, with customers increasingly choosing healthy options, has paid dividends. Similarly, a more discerning taste for coffee has enabled us to double sales through the introduction of our gourmet coffee brand Frank and Honest.”
“We do not plan to rest on our laurels and will continue to lead the market in terms of innovation, as the introduction of new services like the Beat the Queue app demonstrates. Our ultimate ambition is to redefine convenience shopping and we are leading the charge in this respect, as demonstrated by Centra Parnell Street winning IGD Innovative Store of the Year ahead of 700 stores across 50 countries.”
“We are well-positioned for the future with plans to open a further 30 Centra stores in 2018, highlighting the attractiveness of the Centra brand to independent retailers. Our performance is ultimately testament to the efforts of our retail partners, who live the brand every day and deliver a tailored offer to the local community.”
With over 450 stores, Centra employs over 11,000 people and serves over three million customers per week. Centra invests more than €240 million in local communities per annum, which is the equivalent of €4.5 million per week through a combination of payments to local suppliers, acquisition of local business services, wages, charitable donations and local sponsorships.