Sales up for first time in four years
Irish supermarket Superquinn revealed like-for-like sales were up in the year to April 30 for the first time in four years, after a customer-driven revamp of its product and stores.

Superquinn's parent company, Select Retail Holdings, which bought the supermarket group for Eu420 million (£287.5 million) in 2005, revealed that F&C, the asset management company for financial services group Friends First in Ireland, is to invest Eu142.5 million (£97.5 million) in Superquinn.

The grocer announced: 'The cash investment, which is spread across several sites, has allowed a significant reduction in the debt incurred by Select Retail Holdings in the purchase of Superquinn. This is an important step in enabling the substantial expansion planned for the Superquinn business over the next three years.'

Superquinn chairman Simon Burke said: 'These are two big steps forward for Superquinn. In the past year, we refocused on meeting our customers' food needs and introduced a revolutionary new design format to Superquinn stores. Achieving a turnaround in trading performance gives us all the confidence to increase our commitment to new stores and refurbishments. The investment by F&C is a huge help in allowing that commitment to be financed.'

The grocer said it plans to refurbish five more stores and to open three by next April, at a cost of about Eu60 million (£41.1 million). The retailer operates from 21 stores, but said it has plans to expand this to 35 by 2011.