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Hammerson backs Foot Locker for Ilac Centre traffic boost


Hammerson co-owns the Ilac Centre with Irish Life Investment Managers

Hammerson co-owns the Ilac Centre with Irish Life Investment Managers

Hammerson co-owns the Ilac Centre with Irish Life Investment Managers

Real estate giant Hammerson aims to “reinvigorate" Dublin’s Ilac Centre with Ireland’s largest Foot Locker store, which is set to open its doors this summer.

The Ilac Centre is the smallest of Hammerson’s three Irish shopping centres. It also owns Dundrum Town Centre and Swords Pavilions.

The announcement comes as Irish retailers are seeing some positive news on footfall and consumer spending and just two weeks ahead of the real estate giant’s full-year results.

American sportswear retailer Foot Locker is to open a 13,000 sqft unit in the Ilac Centre, in Dublin’s north city, and will upgrade its existing unit in Swords Pavilions in north county Dublin.

“This is just the type of brand which will resonate particularly amongst our younger customers,” said Connor Owens, Hammerson’s managing director for asset management (Ireland & Scotland).

“It will also further enhance the Ilac consumer experience and widen the range of top retail brands on offer. Foot Locker’s relocation and renewed commitment in Swords Pavilions also highlights the growing national demand for this athleisure brand.”

Hammerson co-owns the Ilac Centre with Irish Life Investment Managers and owns Swords Pavilion and Dundrum Town Centre with German insurance giant Allianz. The real estate firm owns properties across the UK and France.

Hammerson has applied for planning permission to regenerate 2.2 hectares in Dublin’s north inner city, across the road from the Ilac, where it intends to build new homes, hotel rooms, shops, restaurants, cultural and public spaces.

Colm Lauder, a real estate analyst with stockbrokers Goodbody, said Hammerson’s upcoming results on March 9 are expected to be positive.

Its most recent update in November showed third-quarter 2022 sales in Ireland were 2pc above pre-pandemic levels, though footfall across its UK, Irish and French value retail outlets was still 10pc behind 2019.

“The Irish portfolio is expected to be one of the outperformers from an operational standpoint,” Mr Lauder said.

“The Irish retail industry has bounced back pretty strongly post-Covid. Footfall, from a consumer perspective, in better-quality shopping centres – which are the ones Hammerson would own, like Dundrum and the Pavilion – have been very strong. Sales penetration has been good, so operationally, you would be expecting good numbers in Ireland.

“There are obviously challenges: rates have gone up, therefore property yields have to go up, so capital values are expected to fall. But it’s mostly due to issues outside of their control.”

Retail Ireland, the Ibec group representing the sector, said Christmas sales were broadly in line with expectations given persistent inflation and has spoken of “very tentative positive signs” in recent data.

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