Chief executive David Riddiford: grand plans

Arnotts Project, one of the famous Dublin retailer's flagship fashion stores, is
to close after failed negotiations over rent with the landlord of its Jervis Street premises.

Employees were last week informed of the imminent closure, and told that every effort would be made to relocate them to the main Arnotts store.

It is understood the retailer will have to pay an undisclosed amount for breaking the lease with landlords Paddy McKillen and Padraig Drayne.

The lease was a minimum of 17 years. Arnotts first leased the Jervis Street premises in 2008.

Sources confirmed that TK Maxx was in talks to take over the top two floors of the 90,000 sq ft store, and New Look had signed a deal to occupy the first floor and the basement.

Three other retailers were also understood to be in talks with the landlord.

It will be TK Maxx's first outlet on the northside of Dublin.

"The news came as a shock to the employees, and comes after two months of negotiations between Arnotts and the landlords," said one retailing source.

"Last week a final decision to close was made and Arnotts called its staff and told them the news, and that it would try to redeploy them, but it doesn't really know how many people this will be possible for.

"It is bad news for the employees of course, and there is a lot of uncertainty as to who will be redeployed to the main Henry Street store.

"Either ways there are new stores on their way, with New Look and TK Maxx being the certainties," the retailer added.

Project Arnotts saw a massive €10m investment, and was aimed specifically at 20- to 39-year-old females. The store opened last May.

Arnotts Chief executive David Riddiford previously said the store had the potential to become a multiple that could be rolled out across Ireland.

Concession holders such as Oasis, Warehouse and Lipsy will not be affected as they will be relocated to the main store.