Tuesday 24 April 2018

Dunnes' creative post pays off for designer Donnelly

Carolyn Donnelly, creative director of Dunnes Stores
Carolyn Donnelly, creative director of Dunnes Stores

Gordon Deegan

The appointment of one of Ireland's best-known designers, Carolyn Donnelly, as creative director of retail giant Dunnes Stores has coincided with her design firm enjoying a stellar year in 2013.

Accounts filed by Donnelly's Crab Rock Designs Ltd show that it recorded a profit of €146,681 in its first year of trading.

The accounts to the end of June 30, 2013 show that the firm was sitting on a cash pile of €75,975.

Crab Rock Designs - 100pc owned by Ms Donnelly - had net assets of €127,831 last year.

Ms Donnelly was appointed creative director to Dunnes Stores in 2012 and Crab Rock was incorporated as a new firm in June 2012.

As part of her role with the Irish-owned retailer, Ms Donnelly oversees design across womenswear, leading a team of new designers in the branded labels within the store group.

Ms Donnelly has also launched her own collection of homewares 'Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic' exclusive to Dunnes.

Her own womenswear is entitled 'Carolyn Donnelly The Edit'.

Ms Donnelly's contribution to Dunnes helped the firm's UK arm to increase its pre-tax profits by 29pc to £15.9m (€18.5m) last year.

Dunnes' UK business recorded revenues of £157.5m in the 12 months to the end of February 2, 2013.

 Dunnes Stores has unlimited status in Ireland and is not required to file annual accounts to the Companies Office.

 The UK arm employs 1,944 people and across the group Dunnes Stores employs 15,000 people in total in Ireland and the UK.

A native of Co Offaly, Ms Donnelly began her career in fashion at the Grafton Academy in Dublin. After graduation she set up a fashion label with her classmate, Liz Quin.


Over the years, the label became the biggest-selling Irish designer label in Ireland and was stocked in Brown Thomas, Harrods in London, House of Fraser branches across the UK, in Bloomingdales in New York and Macy's in San Francisco, among others.

After more than 30 successful years in fashion, Ms Donnelly is now regarded as one of the country's most talented and experienced designers.

In a previous interview on the role of creative director at Dunnes, Ms Donnelly said that she loved it. She said: "For me, it's the scale of Dunnes that makes it so exciting. There's no reason why we can't be a global brand and that's what I'm focused on."

Dunnes also has collections by designer, Paul Costelloe.

Irish Independent

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