Sunday 24 September 2017

Clerys staff return to work for Christmas as iconic store reopens

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Dublin’s north city centre landmark department store opens its doors today after four months, welcoming a total of 87 staff back into the retail fold.

The O’Connell street shop closed its doors back in July when unseasonal flash flooding caused extensive damage throughout its four floors.

Management seized this opportunity to conduct major refurbishment at the 160-year-old store – and workers had to take temporarily leave while this renovation was ongoing.

But, this morning, after a total of 119 days, they will all get their jobs back when the store reopens, according to Managing Director at Clerys, Dominic Prendergast.

“Nearly two thirds of our staff went on short-term layoff. But I’m pleased to report that everyone’s back,” he said.

Clerys was one of the world's first mass market department stores when it opened in 1853.

The original building was seriously damaged during the 1916 Easter Rising, while the current premises dates from 1922.

The grand opening of the ‘new look’ store will also delight many a Christmas shopper who flock to the historic department over the festive season.

And they can expect a few changes to the familiar premises, including the exposure of intricate ceiling cornicing and the accentuation of the building’s original columns and windows.

In general, the store feels more spacious and bright with minimal furbishing and overhead lightning now focused on the products being sold rather than the shopper strolling by.

Nonetheless loyal longstanding customers will still find the usual brands on sale – with the added bonus that a number of items will be on offer at discounted prices. 

However, those looking forward to seeing a breathtaking Christmas window display from the Clerys store may be slightly disappointed, despite the great flashing bow that encompasses the city centre building.

“In truth, we hadn’t got the time [for an intricate display]. And I wasn’t prepared to do animation unless we could do it properly,” confessed Mr Prendergast.

The pop-up shop ‘Welcome Wall’ promoting the ‘Love Clerys’ campaign that opened six weeks after the flood damage shut up shop last night to pave the way for the opening of the general store at 11am today.

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