Dunnes sells site for €32m to group of investors after council row

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Gavin McLoughlin and Ronald Quinlan

Dunnes Stores has sold a 1.26 acre site near its Cornelscourt store in Dublin for around €32m, the Irish Independent understands.

The site, off the old Bray Road at Foxrock, is likely to be used for housing. It has the potential for high-end houses or apartments, subject to planning permission.

The buyer is a group of private investors.

The purchase price - some €25.4m an acre - comes after the site was offered to a targeted list of potential buyers, it is understood. Dunnes Stores did not respond to a request for comment.

The site was the subject of a row between Dunnes and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, with the council having placed the land on the vacant sites register.

The register was introduced to disincentivise landowners from sitting on land that could be used for housing, by putting a levy on the land.

Dunnes appealed the decision by the council, but the appeal was rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

The supermarket had previously applied for an extension of permission for a temporary car park at the site.

Last month, Dunnes reclaimed top spot among Irish supermarkets by market share for the first time since February. Dunnes had a share of 22.1pc in the 12 weeks ending October 7, according to market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

"While it is too soon to assess the full impact of its new Everyday Savers offer, which prices many own brand everyday items at a euro or less, Dunnes's continued focus on shopper campaigns has helped to attract an extra 14,000 shoppers this period," said Kantar's consumer insight director Douglas Faughnan.