Tag Archives | Dunnes Stores

This Weeks Grocery Special Offers across Ireland

Every week you can access this weeks grocery special offers across Ireland from all of the main grocery chains from this single handy web page. On a weekly basis, sometimes monthly, all the Irish supermarket chains publish their special offers on their websites in various different formats.

You can use this webpage to click on any of the icons below to bring you directly to the this weeks grocery special offers across Ireland from the main supermarket chains.

This Weeks Grocery Special Offers across Ireland

These links are as up to date as I can make them. The supermarket chains, however, don’t make it easy to keep this listing up to date – they regularly change the links to their special offers pages for no apparent reason other than to make it hard to keep this webpage up to date.

If you notice any broken links, or have any suggestions on any other pages that should be added here, please let me know here.

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Dunnes Stores is the most popular link from the Grocery Special Offers page

I was looValueIreland Grocery Special Offers Pageking at the website stats for this site on the excellent StatCounter website recently, and particularly the listing of the most popular links that visitors follow to go to other sites. It’s no surprise that most of the links that people use are from the ValueIreland Grocery Special Offers page.

What was surprising though, was the fact that the Dunnes Stores link was three times more popular than either of the next stores on the list – Tesco and Lidl. In fact, the numbers selecting the Dunnes Stores link outnumbered those selecting Tesco, Lidl and Aldi put together.

This differs from the market breakdown for the supermarkets in Ireland where as of the end of September, Tesco was still the most popular, marginally ahead of the SuperValu / SuperQuinn combo which didn’t make the top 5 exit links.

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Grocery special offer web pages – hopefully grocers will do better

You’ll probably have seen on many consumer related websites recently the growing listing of the special offers web pages that are updated every week or month.

For the record, here are the special offer links for all the Irish based grocery chains that I can find at the moment. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.These web pages are obviously pretty useful. For me personally, I find the Eurospar and Centra special offers pretty useful as I get some of my regular shopping items from those chains in bulk depending on the offers they have at certain times.

Could Do Better

But I really think that these grocery chains could actually do a little better with their grocery special offers web pages.

The main issue I have with their web pages is that for some of them, the links could change from week to week. This means that the respective websites need to be checked each week to see where the special offers are, and subsequently any links provided one week on a website like done above could be out of date and become a broken link the next week when the link changes.

Certain other pages provide non-standard presentations of the special offers such as Flash images or PDF files. These have the problem that not all web users (and particularly those doing the shopping and potentially visiting these pages) will have the software necessary on their machines to see the actual offers.

Yet another issue is where a couple of the offers pages open up in new windows. These pop up windows aren’t ideal in getting the message across to the widest possible audience as they could be blocked by some peoples internet settings.

RSS Offers Are the Future

Finally, I think these grocers are missing a trick by only publishing static web pages with their weekly or monthly special offers.

I reckon they’d get a much larger audience if they provided their grocery special offers via an RSS feed.

This would directly benefit any consumers who want to subscribe to these special offers where the update each week or month would be pushed out rather than depending on people visiting the website each week. Even coming back each week to check out the special offers might not be so straight forward if the consumers can’t bookmark the special offers pages if their web address changes each time.

I also think that if these grocery chains were to provide their grocery special offers via an RSS feed, it would given them greater flexibility in how to broadcast their message (via anywhere such as Twitter, Facebook, and so on that can publish such a feed).

It would also make it easier for publishers of consumer websites such as this one to promote the special offers to our readers on a weekly or monthly basis and to ensure the information is as up to date and as accurate as possible all the time.

Will the Grocers follow Up?

With all this in mind, last night I contacted most of the above grocery chains providing this feedback and the RSS publication suggestion. Hopefully they’ll all follow up.

I’ll let you know how things progress.

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Positive steps towards a national grocery price comparison website?

According to this article in this mornings Irish Times, the National Consumer Agency are in the process of trying to put together “a grocery database containing real-time price information which consumers could use to make accurate comparisons on the cost of a basket of goods”.

According to Conor Pope, the NCA have contacted Tesco, Spar, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn, Supervalu, Aldi and Lidl with a view to getting access to their prices on a more realtime basis rather than the current 6 monthly grocery price survey. The article mentions that Tesco are apparently in favour of such an independent grocery price comparison site.

I referred last week to the issues in Australia with their plans for a grocery price comparison site. At the moment, it seems that a “social media” campaign is being started to get consumers to submit prices of grocery items in order to build up an independent database of prices.

Such a campaign is, unfortunately (in my opinion), doomed to failure as the quality of the data is dependent on consumers submitting the pricing information – we can see this difficulty with the petrol price comparison sites in Ireland (despite the excellent work of Pumps.ie). Sometimes, there’ll be good information, but at other times, information will be incomplete, out of date, or not available in a particular area. This will only be compounded hundreds if not thousands of times across the many many grocery items available across all the Irish grocery retailers.

The government sponsored Australian price comparison site was pulled, allegedly, because of a reluctance on the part of the Australian grocers to make their pricing inforamtion available for comparison purposes.

It’ll be interesting to see how successful the National Consumer Agency are in getting pricing information from all of the Irish grocery chains.

However, this plan from the NCA is the only way to go when it comes to a grocery price comparison site. From a technical perspective, a grocery price comparison site is quite simple to set up and maintain – provided it gets a consistent and accurate daily feed of prices from the respective grocery chains.

And it’s not like they don’t have the necessary information easily to hand – a simple extract of their grocery products stocked and the price charged could in theory be achieved in minutes every morning.

There are a couple of potential sticking points though. One mentioned in the article is how to compare across “own brand” items – a growing part of all grocery retailers stock portfolio these days.

Other potential issues would be:

  • How would one determine what stores should be taking part in the website comparison – do you include only multiples and thereby give them de-facto free advertising at the expense of independent grocery stores?
  • How do you manage price differences across the country – we’re told Dublin is 4.4% more expensive than Dublin. Do you therefore need a set of “Dublin prices” and a “country price” as well – doubling up on the data requirements for the project?
  • What about Northern Ireland stores? These grocery chains have growing chunk of the Irish grocery market, so to get a valid comparison, they would also need to be included.
  • What value would there be in the price comparison site if, for example, Dunnes Stores decided not to allow their pricing data be used? The exclusion of such a big player in the market would negate the value of the project as a whole.
  • The ComReg CallCosts.ie website is referred to in the article as an example of a similar popular service. While CallCosts.ie provides a certain amount of useful information, it is open to manipulation by the telecoms companies who always want their offerings showing at the top of any listing. This will need to be avoided for any grocery comparison site.
  • Also, with regards to CallCosts.ie, it hasn’t developed with the market which has moved on since it was originally set up – it doesn’t provide a mobile broadband comparison yet. Any grocery price comparison site will need to be developed in such a way that it can quickly adapt to grocery market changes.

For what has to be the first time ever, I’m positive about something being done by the National Consumer Agency. If this is properly investigated, analysed and planned, a grocery price comparison website could be an excellent addition for Irish consumers.

And just think – once all the information is stored centrally, who know’s where this could end? Online shopping lists? I-Phone or mobile phone applications? Links with cooking and recipe websites to automatically create your shopping list?

Think Amazon.com, but for grocery shopping.

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Loyalty cards are more important to attract business these days

Irish News of the Word

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Loyalty Cards

Now that times are tougher, it’s great to see more businesses trying harder either at keeping or attracting our business. No longer do businesses work on the basis of “if I sell it, they will come”, they now need to work hard to get our money from us.

Shops like Dunnes, Tesco and Superquinn have always had their reward cards, as did some book shops as well.

But now we’re seeing many more restaurants, coffee shops and even butchers starting to offer loyalty cards to entice us back again and again.

These cards will offer you free items or will turn into money off vouchers after a set number of purchases.

In general, there’s not a whole lot wrong with these loyalty card offerings where you’ll find standard offer is to give you something after 8 purchases. This works out to be effectively 12.5% extra for you – nice if it’s something you buy regularly.

The one thing that you should be careful is to not get tempted to buy extra stuff just because you’re getting extra card points or extra stamps on your loyalty card.

Just because you think you’re getting more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a bargain if you end up buying more than you need or want.

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The Internet Can Save you Bundles

Irish News of the World

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

The Internet Can Save you Bundles

The past 6 months have seen some amazing online developments that are helping consumers save money on all sorts of purchases.

One of the best for online bargains, apart from www.ValueIreland.com obviously, is the Boards.ie Bargain Alerts forum where users log on daily to share information of where the best bargains can be found around the internet. There’s a huge range of bargains available on the site each week.

Before doing your weekly food shopping, you should make sure you check out the websites of the grocery retailers who all provide weekly updates on their special offers. Some, including Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes Stores, will even e-mail you weekly with their offers.

One of my favourite sites at the moment is CheapEats.ie. It’s relatively new, but it already has some fantastic information on how to get great food in these tough times. The site provides updates on special restaurant and shops food offers available around the country.

The site also has some great money saving top tips on how to cook for yourself.

The ValueIreland.com links page has more sites that will help you save even more money using the web.

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Pricing Legislation – The problem with Sale pricing

The short answer is, after a “reasonable period of time”. Yes, it’s as fuzzy and hazy and non-specific as that. Perfect for business to be able to manipulate to ensure that they’re never prosecuted by the organisation responsible for doing so, the National Consumer Agency.

Recently, ValueIreland.com received an e-mail from a reader as follows:

I was in Dunnes stores in Briarhill, Galway at the weekend to buy my usual bottle of wine. (04/04/09).  Torres white wine.  There was a 20% off or back on all wines and champagnes.  However on the Torres there was a sign for 20% off, i.e was 13.75 down to 10.79.  Now this is the problem, never ever have I paid out 13.75 for this bottle of wine it was always 10.49, and it scanned through the till at 10.49 not the apparent 10.79 that it was meant to be down to.  Now I admit it is a good 3 weeks since I had last bought a bottle of this wine but it stuck out in my head because this is the only brad of wine I ever buy

I would like to know how long the wine was selling at 13.75 for and is it against the law to just put the price up in order to claim there is 20% off.  I know this is not a huge amount of a difference but if this was happening on all wines I am sure it would add up.

Here was my response, plus some extra information I’ve brought together to illustrate the hoplessness of this whole situation.

The actual agency to follow up with if you want to make a complaint about pricing is the National Consumer Agency.

If you’re familiar with my website comments regarding the NCA, you’ll see however that I wouldn’t hold out much hope if you were to follow up with them.

The law states that goods must have been on sale for a “reasonable period” of time prior to the price reduction.

So, if you could find out what a “reasonable period” might be, then found that the store concerned didn’t have the wine at the higher price for this period of time, then they would have been acting in contravention of the relevant legislation.

The problem is, though, that this “reasonable period” of time has no actual definition, so I would expect it will be nearly impossible to get any satisfaction from the NCA on this.

The relevant legislation regarding sale prices is the 2007 Consumer Protection Act, section 43.6 (a) & (b), which states:

if the commercial practice involves a representation or creates an impression (whether in advertising, marketing or otherwise) that a product was previously offered at a different price or at a particular price, consideration shall be given to whether the product was previously offered openly and in good faith at that price and at the same place for a reasonable period of time before the representation was made

The key text here says “a reasonable period of time” which, as you can probably guess, could mean any period of time depending on who you ask. If you were to ask me, I’d say that such a fuzzy term in the legislation was actually intended to ensure that no business could be prosecuted.

In 2007, the NCA started a consultation on what might be defined as a “reasonable period”. This documentation for this consultation states:

The 28 day rule had been in place for almost 30 years and the requirement that an indication that products were ‘offered openly at the same place within the preceding 3 months for not less than 28 successive days’ has been accepted throughout the sector.

However, I can’t find any follow up to this consultation, so I guess it’s been forgotten about.

In its place, the NCA are now putting together “Draft Guidelines” on price discounts – details available here. This effort backtracks on the 28 day rule (maybe retail pressure groups had success in suppressing the consultation in 2007) and tries to come up with different rules for “reasonable period” depending on the products on sale.

Even if these “draft guidelines” are accepted, it’s worth remembering that they’re just guidelines and therefore would have no legal standing – so the only legislation in place is the original act stating “reasonable period”.

Which brings us back around to the fuzzy legislation that the National Consumer Agency will say that they can’t really follow up on to make prosecutions under the Act, even if they wanted to (which as we know, they don’t really want to anyway as that would mean work).

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Going cold turkey on sterling to euro exchange rate stores

This e-mail came in to ValueIreland.com last week and gave us a little chuckle:

I just want to let you know, I am 40 days clean of visiting any UK Retailer who is robbing us on the Sterling exchange and it feels very good indeed. For food I have discovered the wonders of Aldi and Lidl, Dunnes and Superquinn, fresh vegetables and excellent quality fruit. No prepared meals from Marks, not when they are double the price they charge in UK, so happy days.  Maybe they did me a favour anyway!!

The thing to remember though, is that even some Irish companies, as we’ve shown you recently, are guilty of using extravagant sterling to euro exchange rates that basically makes them bigger profits.

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Silly Surveys Skirt Real Issues

Irish News of the World

February 15th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Silly Surveys Skirt Real Issues

I see the National Consumer Agency are still carrying out farcical surveys. This month they told us about price differences between the big supermarkets and completed missed the real story – that everyone’s still RAISING prices.

From December 2007, until last month, Tesco, Dunnes Stores and SuperQuinn all jacked up their prices – Tesco by 4.9%, Dunnes by 3.5%, SuperQuinn by 2.8%.

At a time when demand and prices are generally falling in Ireland, our supermarkets are INCREASING their prices by nearly 5%.

All consumers really care about is the fact that grocery prices are going up everywhere – not the relative differences between each.

The truth is, a couple of grocery price sureys by the NCA every year aren’t having any impact on that rising trend. Get your act together.

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Latest National Consumer Agency Grocery Survey – the real story

In the light of much criticism for the pointless nature of carrying out grocery pricing surveys, the National Consumer Agency still proceeds with these farcical surveys.

This months one, as referred to by Conor Pope on Wednesday evening, has not a whole lot new to tell us. The headline points from the NCA press release tells us the following points:

* Price difference between multiples widens on basket of branded goods
* Gap between discounters and multiples narrows on own brand goods
* Aldi and Lidl price difference shrinking

Hidden down at the bottom of the press release is the detail of what the headline should be – Grocery Prices Increase across all main grocery stores:

Examining the period from December 2007 to January 2009, aggregate prices in separate baskets for Tesco, Dunnes and Superquinn all recorded an increase. Tesco recorded the largest increase (4.9%), Superquinn (2.8%) the smallest increase. Dunnes recorded an increase of 3.5%.

In a time when demand and prices are generally falling in Ireland, our supermarkets are upping their prices by up to nearly 5%. And the previous darlings of Ann Fitzgerald – Aldi and Lidl – are even at it when it comes to own brand products:

Over the period December 2007 to January 2009, separate baskets for Aldi, Lidl, Dunnes and Tesco all became more expensive. Tesco’s basket recorded the largest increase at 9.3%, Dunnes the smallest increase at 4.1%. Aldi recorded an increase of 4.2% and Lidl an increase of 4.7%.

Who cares, really, about the relative differences between supermarket pricing – all that consumers will really care about is the fact that grocery prices are universally increasing. And a couple of grocery price surveys by the NCA every year isn’t having any impact on that rising trend.

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