Limerick retail boost as stores exit examinership

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The B&Q store on the City East Retail Park in Limerick.
The B&Q store on the City East Retail Park in Limerick.
The B&Q store on the City East Retail Park in Limerick.

by Kathy Masterson

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OVER 100 retail jobs in Limerick City have been saved this week as DIY chain B&Q and fashion outlet Pamela Scott both successfully exited examinership.

The joint receivers for movie rental chain Xtra Vision also announced that its three Limerick stores will not be among the 20 branches nationwide that have been earmarked for closure.

The company is to shut eight stores across the country with the loss of up to 100 jobs, but its Limerick branches in Dooradoyle, Ennis Road and the Parkway shopping centre will trade as normal.

Approximately 20 people are employed by the Xtra Vision in Limerick City.

Pamela Scott’s Limerick branches in Bedford Row and the Crescent Shopping Centre, which employ a total of 24 staff, have both been saved.

Arzac Developments Limited, the company that operates 12 of Pamela Scott’s 24 Irish stores, successfully exited examinership having renegotiated upward only rent clauses with landlords.

Pamela Scott’s parent company Flairline Fashion Ltd, which employs 300 people in Ireland, has also introduced fresh investment into Arzac Developments since it entered examinership.

Scott Barron, director of Flairline Fashions said: “Prior to entering examinership, all leases for each of the Pamela Scott stores in Arzac Developments had upward only clauses. Subsequent to landlord negotiations as part of the examinership process, approximately 65 per cent of these upward only clauses have been replaced and these leases are now market rent leases and can be negotiated both up and down, depending on market conditions.”

He also thanked landlords for their cooperation, and expressed the company’s gratitude towards its staff and customers.

Meanwhile, DIY giant B&Q, which employs 640 people in eight stores nationwide including 85 staff in its branch in City East Retail Park on the Ballysimon Road, has also successfully exited the examinership process.

B&Q Ireland sought the appointment of an examiner on January 31 in a bid to rescue the business which was significantly loss-making.

The group’s rescue plan involved the closure of its Waterford store, which ceased trading last week with the loss of 47 jobs.

Four further stores were also potentially under threat, but these will now remain open following the agreement secured by the examiner.

Parent company Kingfisher plc will also provide B&Q Ireland Ltd with over €2.4 million in fresh investment.

Brian Mooney, Chairman of B&Q Ireland, paid tribute to staff who, he said, have maintained standards and service throughout a challenging period.

“B&Q Ireland employees have had a challenging three months, and so today’s encouraging plan is a great relief.  There is huge regret that the Waterford store was not viable, but, for the rest of the business, we look confidently forward to a sustainable future.”