Donnybrook Fair upmarket food chain bought by Musgrave

Musgrave, the owner of SuperValu, has agreed a deal to buy the Donnybrook Fair chain of upscale supermarkets in the greater Dublin area.

The Cork-headquartered retailing and wholesaling group finalised a deal to buy the chain this morning for an undisclosed sum from husband and wife team, Joe and Mary Doyle, who founded and control Donnybrook Fair.

Joe Doyle says he will remain involved with the business, to grow the brand in partnership with its new owners. Both sides also suggested the Donnybrook Fair brand will remain intact following the deal.

The transaction includes four stores in Dublin – in Donnybrook, Stillorgan, Malahide and Baggot Street – and one in Greystones in Wicklow. It also includes Donnybrook Fair’s food production facility.

Donnybrook Fair employs about 250 staff.

Dunnes Stores had been close to completing a deal for Donnybrook Fair earlier in the summer, but were ultimately overtaken in negotiations by Musgrave.

The deal strengthens Musgrave’s position in the booming Dublin grocery market, where SuperValu’s base is built mainly around the since-rebranded Superquinn outlets that Musgrave purchased in 2011.

As consumer trends within the Irish grocery market shifts further towards quality Irish foods, the deal also strengthens Musgrave and SuperValu’s offering in that segment of the market, given Donnybrook Fair’s association for epicurean goods.

“Donnybrook Fair increases our penetration of the Dublin food market and our intention is to maintain and grow the brand for the long term. We are looking forward to taking it to the next stage of development,” said Chris Martin, chief executive of Donnybrook Fair.

“Musgrave is as passionate as we are about the heritage and future of Irish food. I look forward to working in partnership with the Musgrave team to grow the Donnybrook Fair brand,” said Mr Doyle.