Convenience retail giant Centra has officially confirmed the closure of its store in Longford town, leading to the loss of ten jobs, nine of which were part-time.
The Market Square based premises closed its doors for the last time last Monday (March 25), prompting questions locally about the suddenness and abrupt nature of the decision.
In a statement Centra’s parent company, the Musgrave Group, failed to identify what may have led to the move, despite hinting that its closure may have come about via ongoing trading difficulties.
“Centra retailers own and operate their own stores and are ultimately responsible for the efficient and prudent management of their individual businesses. Centra, Market Square, Longford ceased trading as a Centra store on March 25,” the statement read.
Attempts by the Longford Leader to contact the person who was running the store proved fruitless but it is understood that he is also running another store in a neighbouring county.
However Musgraves, whose brands also include SuperValu, Londis and Superquinn as well as Centra, acknowledged the news had come as a blow to staff and management. The closure, it maintained, would not dent its confidence in ensuring the long term profitability of the Centra model.
“It is a very difficult time for the staff and management of any business when it ceases trading. We remain committed, when possible, to protecting the viability of any Centra retailer which is experiencing trading difficulties,” the group said.
“Musgrave is committed to long term relationships with its retail partners and in this difficult trading environment and where possible has put a number of support measures in place to assist any retail partners who are experiencing difficulties in the current trading environment including increased margin and cash flow support.”
Widely viewed as being the country’s largest independent convenience chain, over 480 Centra stores presently exist nationwide. And with plans to expand on those numbers this year, Musgrave’s believe the move will build on its 2011 pre-tax profit of €71m.
The closure of the store was greeted with widespread dismay in Longford town as it occupied one of the most high-profile outlets in the town, on the Market Square.