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Retailers are in real trouble and Debenhams is just the beginning

Richard Curran


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Retail groups have called for support from Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe as national chains face growing struggles to pay their rent

Retail groups have called for support from Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe as national chains face growing struggles to pay their rent

Retail groups have called for support from Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe as national chains face growing struggles to pay their rent

The high-profile collapse of Debenhams in Ireland into liquidation may be just the beginning. Another 2,000 jobs are gone with the withdrawal from the Irish market of a retail business that could trace its presence here all the way back to Roches Stores. Retailers are in real trouble. It isn't just about holding on to staff or availing of Government supports to ensure employees have a reasonable income during the lockdown.

There is a huge rent crisis building, especially among retailers. April 1 was the day that second-quarter commercial rents were due to be paid in advance. According to a letter from Retail Excellence Ireland to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, just 20pc of commercial rent has been received.

Landlords are not getting their money because tenants don't have it. The representative body is so alarmed by what it is seeing in the sector that it consulted with the chief executives of AIB and Bank of Ireland in recent days, warning them to be prepared for the coming commercial rent crisis.