Arnotts in revamp as Smyth carves out 'Blue Building'
Developer and lawyer Noel Smyth has made his latest move at department store Arnotts, with a chunk of the Henry Street property now boarded up for his future use.
The so-called 'Blue Building' had housed Arnotts' 'Shoe Garden' and was not originally part of the shop's footprint. Retaining 240,000 sq ft of retail space, Arnotts will not lose any departments in the process.
I hear Smyth is busily in negotiations with prospective clients for the prime retail site, which he will develop to the new tenant's specifications. A sports retailer is believed to be among the interested parties.
Meanwhile, Arnotts, which is owned by the Selfridges Group, is advancing its plans to improve the stores.
The women's shoe department has been relocated from the ground floor to the first floor and been renamed 'The Shoe Gallery'. It's an 8,000 sq ft space, so plenty for would-be Carrie Bradshaws to choose from.
Arnotts is continuing to invest in the store and has plans to introduce new brands, such as Michael Kors, by the end of August.
There are also plans for a new lingerie department that is due to open in February 2018 and which will also be located on the women's floor on level one.
Donald McDonald, managing director of Arnotts, told me that year-to-date sales are ahead of last year and the business has also had a very strong start to the summer sale.
"We have commenced work that will see Arnotts further enhanced as Ireland's iconic retail destination, restored back to its original footprint," he said. "As the largest and only full-line department store in Ireland, Arnotts is committed to enhancing the shopping experience for customers, while cherishing the store's unique heritage.
"Our ambition is to create a really exciting store environment, which is being designed to optimise the retail space, and to introduce the latest thinking in store layout and design.
"We look forward to celebrating our 175th birthday next year as we create an exciting shopping environment that will be better than ever."
No doubt loyal shoppers will look forward to seeing these changes, while keeping a close eye on developments next door.
Irish technology firm Bluebridge cracks Hollywood
It's notoriously difficult to crack Hollywood but an Irish company called Bluebridge Technologies has managed it.
Bluebridge has teamed up with film services provider Deluxe Entertainment Services Group to provide an inventory tracking system for the Los Angeles-based firm. It won the deal on foot of a major contract win with medical device maker Medtronic.
Deluxe provides, among other things, special effects services and 3D conversion to major Hollywood studios.
It has recently done work on a 3D conversion of Terminator 2, and the most recent instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
The Bluebridge system will allow it to monitor the location of its items from a central database.
We are sure the Irish company will put in an Oscar-worthy performance.
Sunday Indo Business