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8|Retail News|May 2019|www.retailnews.ie

Feargal Quinn

A Sad Day for Irish Grocery Retail News Editor, John Walshe, pays tribute to the legacy of the late and very great Feargal Quinn. Everyone at Retail News was saddened to learn of the death of Feargal Quinn. The former Superquinn founder and Senator was the best known face of the Irish grocery industry for entire generations of consumers. He retained a keen interest in the market he helped to shape long after his retirement from the supermarket sector in 2005, when he sold his beloved Superquinn group. Indeed, as recently as June 2017, he contributed a wonderful article to Retail News’ 60th birthday edition, looking at the changing face of the grocery business, displaying as keen an eye as he ever did when at the helm of Superquinn – he even emailed me weeks afterwards to congratulate us on our anniversary issue. Going back even further, I remember interviewing Feargal back in the 1990s, not in any fancy boardroom or corporate suite, but on the shopfloor of Superquinn Finglas, where the supermarket boss was at his happiest, shaking hands and chatting to customers as they did their weekly shop – it made writing up the subsequent tape challenging, as our interview was interrupted every couple of minutes by a shopper keen to chat to the Superquinn chief or just shake his hand.

A Retail Revolutionary Feargal Quinn revolutionised Irish grocery retailing, realising that by treating the customer as king, you were gaining something that no amount of money could buy, loyalty. He opened his first grocery store in Dundalk in 1960, branding his burgeoning retail empire as Superquinn in 1969. The Superquinn name became synonymous with quality, as Quinn reflected the business lesson learned from his father, ‘the boomerang principle’, which stressed that the key to any successful business is to get the customer to return. Indeed, he wrote a book on the subject, entitled Crowning The Customer, in which Quinn espoused the principle on which Superquinn was founded - exceptional customer service. Crowning the Customer was praised by everyone from Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco CEO, to Donald Keough, President of the Coca-Cola Company, for its jargon free approach to customer service and became a handbook for generations of businesspeople right across the world. Of course, Superquinn was about more than simply customer service, and was responsible for many landmark innovations in Irish retail, including self-service

scanners, the prevalence of in-store bakeries and of course, the Superquinn sausage. A Visionary in Irish Food When Superquinn was sold to Select Retail Holdings in 2005, Quinn had grown the group to 21 stores, which are now part of SuperValu, having been bought by Musgrave Group in 2011. Chris Martin, CEO, Musgrave Group, said: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Feargal Quinn. As the founder of Superquinn, Feargal was a visionary in Irish food and a retail pioneer. Beyond the world of retail, Feargal made a significant and lasting contribution to Irish society and to political life as a member of Seanad Eireann. He was a leader who will be deeply missed. Feargal was also a good friend to Musgrave and on behalf of everyone here, I would like to share our condolences with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.” Myself, Kathleen and all at Retail News would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Quinn family and Feargal’s former colleagues and friends on the loss of a true giant of the Irish business world, a gentleman through and through, who was always generous with his time.

Profile for Retail News

Retail News May 2019  

Retail News, is Ireland’s longest established FMCG B2B magazine. It has been around for over 60 years, from the birth of the supermarket, th...

Retail News May 2019  

Retail News, is Ireland’s longest established FMCG B2B magazine. It has been around for over 60 years, from the birth of the supermarket, th...

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