Irish design moves forced by rival Tesco

The impact of Tesco’s entrance to the Irish grocery sector is starting to filter through to packaging and store design in Ireland.

Sixteen-strong supermarket group Superquinn is to set up an in-house design team, after a nine-month communications audit by local consultancy Bradley Design Management which demonstrated the need for a stronger and more consistent design presence.

Superquinn, which has around 8 per cent market share, will be the first retailer in the grocery sector to have an in-house design team. It will comprise a range of designers and production staff.

Bradley Design Management will co-ordinate selection and manage design strategy. This includes literature, packaging and, later, corporate identity. “Initially, we have advertised for two design staff and will train existing sign writers. It’s difficult to predict how many people we’ll take on, but in the longer term we need to address all elements of communication,” says Bradley Design Management partner Andrew Bradley.

The in-house team will address in-store communications such as price signs and promotions, which it will pilot at stores around the country.

The move comes a year after Tesco acquired 78-strong Irish supermarket chain Quinnsworth. It is rebranding the stores as Tesco Ireland.

“Tesco’s entrance has led to a radical rethink of Irish [grocery] retailing, much of it centred around design. This is intensified by speculation that other British retailers are also looking to enter the market,” says Bradley.

Superquinn is the first supermarket in Ireland to formally respond to the changing grocery landscape. But it is well known most major grocery retailers are reconsidering their design presences in the light of Tesco’s arrival.

Eighty-strong department store Dunnes, which has around 20 per cent of the Irish grocery market, does not currently have an in-house team or operate a design roster. But a spokesman says, “We are always considering these kind of issues.”

A Tesco Ireland spokeswoman says it is “too early” to address the issue of an in-house design team.

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