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Mr Price discount store loses court battle with Dunnes Stores over the phrase “groceries.”

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Dunnes Stores has prevailed in a legal battle with a cheap retailer in which a High Court judge was challenged to determine what goods should be considered as groceries.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey wrote in his decision that the term “groceries” as used in a leasing agreement between Dunnes Stores and the operator of a Mr Price store “extends beyond food or food products.”

The term “groceries” also covers “non-durable consumable household items that are purchased regularly,” according to the judgment.

Healthcare products, home and cleaning supplies; pet care and pet food; bathroom toiletries; hair care products, detergents; washing powder; cleaning products; shampoos; toothbrushes; toothpaste; kitchen towels and toilet rolls are also considered foodstuffs by the court.

The issue included the opening of a Mr Price store in the Barrow Valley Retail Park on the Carlow/Laois border, where Dunnes is the anchor tenant.

In order for it to become the anchor tenant, leasing agreements with the owners of other units in the park included an exclusivity clause to prevent them from competing with the grocery chain.

Following the opening of the Mr Price store in 2020, Dunnes and the retail park’s landlords, Camgill Property A Sé Ltd, filed a lawsuit as “Mr Price Branded Bargains” against Dafora Unlimited Company and Corajio Unlimited Trading.

Dunnes alleged that the operators of its lease, Mr Price, were selling things from its store, especially foodstuffs, in the retail park that it was not allowed to sell.

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