Convenience retailer Centra recorded sales of €1.7 billion for last year, a 4% year-on-year increase on 2018.

Building on this strong commercial performance, Centra said it plans to open 20 new stores this year, adding over 480 jobs to its network this year. 

Centra retailers have also committed to further invest in revamping stores as part of an investment of €27m.

The retailer said the sales increase is mainly due to increased demand for its healthy food-to-go offering, which seeks to capitalise on emerging consumer trends by offering new vegan, vegetarian and prepared evening meals.

Its "Inspired By" gourmet range was recognised as the number one convenience range at the Great Taste and Blas na hEireann awards this year.

Centra has continued to invest in new product development and its Frank and Honest coffee saw sales increase by 19% last year. 

It also rolled out a number of new brands including Moo'd, an in-store ice cream kiosk. It recorded the sale of over 3 million Moo’d cones during the year.

Centra has a total of 473 stores in its network and employs almost 11,000 people.

Speaking at Centra's annual conference at the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra said the company continued to go from strength to strength in 2019, benefiting from the brand repositioning a number of years ago to transform the convenience store experience. 

"People increasingly view Centra as a destination shop, so we're seeing increased footfall as groups of consumers eat together in-store or do top-up shops for dinner," Mr Kelleher said.