British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has announced closure of four stores – in Mullingar, County Westmeath; Naas, County Kildare; and Tallaght and Dun Laoghaire, both in County Dublin – in the Republic of Ireland within the coming weeks, which will result in the loss of 180 jobs. However, the company has agreed to outline plans for a new flagship store, spread across 72,000 sqft, in Limerick that is expected to open in 2016 and will create 250 jobs.
“M&S remains fully committed to its Irish business. We have traded here for the last 35 years, employ around 2,800 people and have extraordinarily loyal Irish customers, but the last few years have been very challenging. During this time our Republic of Ireland business has been under continuous review and we have made savings and found efficiencies wherever possible. However, the retail sector outlook has not improved and we have to act now to protect the long-term good of the company. We have carried out a strategic store review and it is with regret that we are now closing four unprofitable stores,” observes Jonathan Glenister, head of M&S Ireland.
The announcement was made on the same day that M&S decided to close its distribution centre at Mallusk in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, putting 140 jobs at risk.