Musgrave warns Brexit will cause shopping exodus to Northern Ireland

Its chief executive says it is the "main challenge" to our economic and consumer confidence...

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SuperValu in Ranelagh, Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The CEO of Musgrave, the Cork-based retail group that owns SuperValu, has suggested a Brexit could fuel a cross-border shopping exodus.

The Irish Independent reports that Chris Martin is concerned that if the UK votes 'Yes' to leaving the EU on June 23rd and the sterling continues to fall against the euro, shoppers will start looking to Northern Ireland for cheaper deals.

He suggested a situation similar to 2009 – when the two currencies neared parity, thus enticing people in the Republic across the border – could be on the cards.

Martin told the Irish Independent:

"Without getting into the complexities of Brexit, the challenge is that if the UK votes to leave then we’ve got internal issues of exchange rate management and so on, but the broader challenge is going to be about consumer confidence.

"We’ve been here before, when the exchange rates were close, and we had to renegotiate. We saw all the cross-border activity and some of that may re-emerge...

"What will happen to financial markets? How will it play out in tourism into Ireland? So it does have an impact on our business and in retail consumer confidence plays a significant role".

Musgrave has reported revenue of €3.7bn and pre-tax profits of €52.8m from continuing operations in 2015. 

Shareholders were paid a total dividend of €15m for the year, down from €16.4m in 2014.