Sunday 25 September 2016

Smyth-Arnotts deal to bring major retailer to Henry Street

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

While the proposed division of the premises would see Arnotts' physical footprint being reduced, the Henry Street store would still retain its position as Ireland's largest and only full-line department store, with 250,000 sq. ft of retail space. Photo: Michael Chester
While the proposed division of the premises would see Arnotts' physical footprint being reduced, the Henry Street store would still retain its position as Ireland's largest and only full-line department store, with 250,000 sq. ft of retail space. Photo: Michael Chester

Arnotts is poised for a dramatic change as early as 2018 on foot of a deal struck by solicitor and developer Noel Smyth with the historic department store's owners, the Weston family-owned Selfridge Group.

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Last Friday, Smyth's investment vehicle, Fitzwilliam Finance Partners, submitted a planning application in conjunction with Arnotts to Dublin City Council to separate numbers 7, 8 and 9 Henry Street, which currently houses Arnotts' ladies shoe department, into a separate building of approximately 40,000 sq ft.

While the proposed division of the premises would see Arnotts' physical footprint being reduced, the Henry Street store would still retain its position as Ireland's largest and only full-line department store, with 250,000 sq. ft of retail space. The move will also see Arnotts restored to its original footprint. The units that Smyth intends to redevelop with a view to bringing a major international retailer to Henry Street were only added as an extension to the iconic store in the 1960s.

The Sunday Independent understands that Smyth reached an agreement with the Selfridge Group last October to retain numbers 7, 8 and 9 along with Arnotts' other development properties as part of an overall deal that saw him sell the group the remaining 50pc stake that his investment vehicle held in the department store, which first opened its doors to Dublin shoppers in 1843.

Subject to planning, works are not expected to begin until spring 2018. The proposed separation of Arnotts' premises will not have any impact on the numbers employed at the store, a spokesman for Fitzwilliam Finance Partners said.

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