Business Irish

Monday 1 September 2014

Death knell finally sounds for Peats

John Mulligan

Published 26/08/2013 | 12:45

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The death knell has finally sounded for Peats.

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It becomes just another high street casualty of Ireland’s economic bust and a footnote to the country’s retail history.

Even after a radical restructuring last year that came about at the last minute when the business was poised to enter voluntary liquidation, Peats couldn’t survive in a market where retail sales have slumped. With consumers still keeping their purse strings drawn tight, firms such as Peats have been left struggling against the tide.

The company was founded by in 1934 by the parents of current chairman Ben Peat. Buoyed by a wave of economic optimism, by 2000 there were 11 Peats stores employing 75 people.

In April last year it announced it was going into voluntary liquidation, hammered by high rents and the impact of online retailers. But just as that liquidation was about to be enacted, the firm entered examinership, resulting in a slimmed-down operation.

Just a year ago, Mr Peat said he was “quite confident” the business would survive and that it would be handed down to another generation. It was not to be.

The retail environment remains extremely tough. The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the volume of retail sales in Ireland fell 1.6pc in June compared to May and by 1.5pc compared to June 2012. The volume of retail sales is still over 10pc lower than it was in 2005.

And while that CSO data revealed that volume sales of electrical goods actually rose 2.2pc in June compared to June 2012, the value of sales fell 3.9pc. The value of electrical sales in June was 24pc lower than it was in 2005, it added.

The casualty list continues to mount.

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