Business Irish

Thursday 14 December 2017

Clerys concession holders to have stock returned today

But businesses left in the dark on €2m owed from cash sales

Employees protesting outside Clerys in Dublin yesterday
Employees protesting outside Clerys in Dublin yesterday
Clerys worker John Crowe from Artane who worked in Clerys for 43 years
Maureen Deans from Clontarf – who has been with the company for 15 years – with her son Eoin, who worked in Clerys for 10 years
Clerys workers protest outside the front of the Clerys Department store which closed its doors last Friday
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Businesses owed €5m following the liquidation of Clerys will be able to begin retrieving stock from the iconic department store today.

Liquidators KPMG have told some of the 50 businesses which had concessions in the Dublin store that it would be able to allow them into the building to get their goods back.

Concession holders estimate that around €3m worth of goods has been trapped in the store since the shock announcement last Friday that it was to close immediately.

However, the situation regarding around €2m in cash owed to concession businesses from direct sales looks bleak.

This was cash from in-store sales for the past six weeks which had supposedly been held in trust by OCS Operations Ltd, which ran Clerys. Concession holders had been due to be paid the money on Monday.

However, when the liquidators examined the books, they found there was not enough cash available to cover the payments due to the concession holders.

"The company's petition said there was insufficient cash in the bank accounts to meet the liabilities. That is what the liquidators found when they looked at the books," said a source close to the process.

Many concession holders said their businesses would be in jeopardy if the cash from sales was not handed over immediately.

"If I don't get my money in the next week, I am out of business," said Helen Lynch, the owner of the Best in Irish Design concession. Ms Lynch said she had €150,000 worth of stock in the store.

Much of it is summer wear, which has a short shelf life. "If we don't get it sold in two to three weeks it is pretty much worthless," she said.

Ms Lynch also spent €50,000 fitting out her concession in the aftermath of flood damage in 2013.

The businesswoman said she was hoping to be able to move some of the 12 staff she employed in Clerys to her other concessions in Arnotts and Boyers, but that it was inevitable some would have to be let go.

Concession holders said they had been requested by KPMG to produce copies of their legal agreements with Clerys and also a list of all inventory and monies owed to them.

Martin O'Sullivan, who ran The Carpet and Rug Department, said concession holders had been told they would be required to prove ownership of goods before they could retrieve them.

He has €250,000 worth of stock in the department store and between €4,000 and €5,000 worth of fittings.

The concession holders employ 330 of the 460 staff at Clerys. The remaining 130 employees will only receive statutory redundancy payments.

The provisional liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson, told Business Minister Ged Nash that there was no funding available for additional ex-gratia redundancy payments. The liquidators are attempting to ensure that all staff receive their P45 forms by the end of this week to facilitate social welfare claims.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the store yesterday to protest at the sudden closure.

A spokesman for Natrium said it had "no comment".

Irish Independent

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