Irish food wholesaler Musgrave saw the value of its turnover rise 3.4% between 2015 and 2016, according to its latest financial results.

According to the report published today, July 5, sales stood at €3.7 billion in 2016 for the business behind some of Ireland’s biggest retailers, including SuperValu and Centra.

Pre-tax profit stood at €73 million last year. This was modestly higher than the €67.5 million recorded in 2015, representing an upward change of 8%.

Chief Executive Chris Martin described the performance as “strong”, citing the increase in turnover of 3.4% on a constant currency basis. This measure strips out the effects of exchange rate volatility in order to provide a clearer view of financial performance.

He said: “Investing in our brands during the recession was a successful strategy positioning us to benefit from recovering economies in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Spain.

“Our investments in value, range, own brand, digital, and in-store design resulted in SuperValu, Centra, Daybreak and MarketPlace occupying market leadership positions in 2016.”

The latest report from Kantar Worldpanel showed SuperValu’s leading position was narrowing however, with the supermarket taking 22.3% of market share for the 12-week period ending June 18, compared to 22.1% for Tesco.

SuperValu is set to invest €35 million in revamps and to open two new stores in 2017.

Optimism despite Brexit

Martin acknowledged the future uncertainty posed by Brexit and its potential to slow growth in the Irish food and grocery retail sector, but he said the business was “performing well to date in 2017”.

The financial statement said: “The grocery sector has come through a challenging period and now faces the headwinds of Brexit.

While optimism has been tempered by the recent political and economic uncertainty, the grocery market across the island of Ireland and Spain is still growing and we also see further opportunity for growth in the foodservice market.

“The decisions taken during the recession to both invest in our brands and to restructure and transform our business means that we are well-positioned to deliver long-term, sustainable growth.”