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Applegreen brings M&S to your doorstep! | Nenagh Guardian

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Staff celebrate the launch of M&S Food at Applegreen, Birdhill. Photos: Odhran Ducie

There was a carnival atmosphere in Birdhill last Saturday as the official launch took place of Applegreen’s local retail partnership with Marks & Spencer.

That’s right! M&S Food is now available at the Applegreen shop just off the M7 at Birdhill.

The Birdhill motorway service area has been growing from strength to strength since it opened 10 years ago. Now an exciting new chapter begins with the 11th location in Ireland for Applegreen’s highly successful partnership with M&S Food.

The addition of the M&S range instore involved a significant redevelopment of the Birdhill shop, which was closed for four weeks to allow for the creation of a new layout that is much more open and airy than before. It is part of Applegreen’s continuous development to bring the best customer experience on the road to Irish customers.

The new Birdhill store will now offer over 400 M&S products, including Irish customers’ favourite M&S Food ranges such as fresh fruit and salads, Irish sandwiches, great quality fresh flowers and convenient lunch and dinner options. Leading M&S treats, such as Percy Pig sweets, M&S cookies, and Colin the Caterpillar cakes, will also be available on-site.

CLICK & COLLECT

But that’s not all – Applegreen Birdhill will from this week also feature Click & Collect services for M&S Clothing and Home product ranges, providing customers with the convenience of ordering quality clothing, home and beauty essentials online at www.marksandspencer.com/ie, and picking up their purchases at the new Birdhill store.

Matthew Heffernan, Applegreen Birdhill shop manager and assistant site manager, said the Click & Collect service would become a distinct attraction to Applegreen Birdhill in addition to the M&S Food offering. “What’s better about that is if you order from M&S online, you could be waiting five or six days to get it,” he pointed out. “Because we get six deliveries a week – and those deliveries are coming over from the UK – they can very easily put your order in with that delivery and we could have it in two or three days.”

Mr Heffernan spoke of a great reaction from customers that have visited the Applegreen shop in the last week, many of whom were very pleasantly surprised to see M&S Food products on the shelves. “A lot of the feedback we’re getting is really, really positive,” he said. “All the customers I’ve been talking to since we opened on Tuesday are delighted to have it on their doorstep.”

Mr Heffernan expected that the Birdhill site – which employs a hundred people and attracts between 5,000 and 6,000 visitors on a given day – would become an even more popular regional destination now that M&S has been added to its offering.

“It’s also becoming a destination for the local people around in Birdhill, Newport, Killaloe-Ballina – even Nenagh and a bit of Limerick – because we’re only 15 minutes away from both,” he said.

“If people are looking for that something different from your average Dunnes, Lidl, Supervalu – M&S is here on your doorstep!”

PREMIUM BRAND, AFFORDABLE PRICE

Mr Heffernan spoke of the perception that M&S Food is more expensive than that of other supermarkets. While it can be dearer, he made the point that there are always great deals on M&S food and people who “shop smart” can avail of great savings.

“For example,” he said, “a loaf of Brennan’s bread will at the moment cost you €2 – €2.50, whereas Marks & Spencer bread is going out for 99 cent and it’s just as good. Just because it is a Marks & Spencer brand doesn’t mean you’re going to be paying a premium price.”

Mr Heffernan, who hails from Tipp Town originally, said the Applegreen/M&S partnership at Birdhill differs from the country’s other 10 locations in that it boasts a fantastic range of leading dining options, with Burger King, Subway, Bakewell and Costa Coffee all there under one roof. The hugely-popular Braeburn coffee is also available at Applegreen Birdhill.

He took the opportunity to welcome people from near and far to come and see the addition that M&S has made to Applegreen in Birdhill.

“I want to welcome as many customers as we can to the site. I hope people will feel free to come in and see what we’re all about, and to get the Applegreen experience in Birdhill.”

One of Ireland’s leading retail brands, Applegreen opened its first service station in Ballyfermot in 1992 and now operates almost 200 locations in the Irish market. Marks & Spencer has been a market leader since its foundation in the UK way back in 1884. It has been trading in the Republic of Ireland for 44 years, having opened its first store on Dublin’s Mary Street in November 1979. M&S Ireland now has 18 stores in the Republic.

An additional 10 M&S Food at Applegreen ‘shop-in-shop’ stores are planned for the end of this year.

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