Arnotts decides to pull out of suburban centre
THE COUNTRY'S oldest shopping centre has said goodbye to its Arnotts outlet after the store closed down.
Customers at the Stillorgan Shopping Centre in south Co Dublin have for years bought their footwear at the shop.
However, the troubled department store decided to bring an end to its presence.
It comes only months after Arnotts announced it made a record loss of €295m in 2010.
The unit occupied by the company has been taken over by shoe retailer Ecco.
Owners Treasury Holdings has pumped millions of euro in recent years into upgrading the mall, which was first built in 1966.
Among the improvements were installing paving stones in the common areas, relaying the car park and revamping the entrances. The Eddie Rockets restaurant in the centre has doubled in size, while leading food company Donnybrook Fair has also set up.
Other large retailers include Tesco, which has a grocery store, off-licence and homeware outlet, and Dunnes Stores, which sells household goods.
"They (Treasury) put in money to keep retailers and customers happy," said Fianna Fail councillor Gerry Horkan.
"You can go up there all the time and you'll find the car park substantially full. It has a very loyal customer base," Mr Horkan said.
He said the Arnotts outlet "only ever sold shoes", adding: "It had been rumoured to be pulling out about 10 times."
A spokeswoman for the department store said Arnotts took a strategic decision to end trading from the Stillorgan outlet to focus on its operations in Henry Street and Boyers on North Earl Street.
All staff were offered the option to transfer to suitable roles in the other stores or to take redundancy.
Arnotts is now jointly controlled by its lenders Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank.
The interest bill on its borrowings for the year to the end of January 2010 came to €16.4m.
It made an operating loss on continuing operations of €9.2m last year. This was €1.1m higher than for the previous 12 months. Arnotts has undergone a major restructuring.
In August 2010, the European Commission gave Anglo and Ulster Bank the green light to take it over. US consultants Paladin Capital took control in August and a new management team was put in place.