Sunday 21 January 2018

TV 'dragon' O'Farrell closes Cork branch of Blacktie

Tux hire shop was losing money

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

'DRAGON'S DEN' star Niall O'Farrell has closed the Cork branch of his Blacktie chain as part of a restructuring of the business to cope with the downturn.



The news comes after the TV entrepreneur stepped down after four years as a judge on the long-running RTE series to focus on his own investments, including restructuring Blacktie.

The rest of the chain, which includes branches across Dublin and in Limerick and Waterford, is not affected by the move.

Franchising

The suit hire branch in Cork's Patrick's Street was losing money and was closed as part of the restructuring, Mr O'Farrell told the Irish Independent yesterday.

The wider Blacktie chain has returned to profit, he said.

Three staff at the Cork store are understood to have already secured new jobs.

The high-profile Patrick Street outlet was in a building owned by Mr O'Farrell, who is seeking to let the premises ahead of the busy Christmas period.

Meanwhile, Blacktie is in talks to re-establish a presence in Cork through a franchising arrangement.

That is likely to mean setting up as a concession in an independent menswear store rather than as a standalone shop, Mr O'Farrell said.

The Cork closure comes three years after an earlier retrenchment led to the closure of three branches, in Dublin's Dawson Street, in Blackrock, Co Dublin, and in Drogheda, Co Louth.

Mr O'Farrell founded the Blacktie business in 1985 when he was just 22.

He has extensive property interests in Ireland and Britain, and was an active investor during his time with 'Dragons' Den', putting money into ventures that included luxury jewellery brand Button & Co Goldsmiths, retailer Mooz Milkshakes and food ventures Dee's Burgers and Beal Organic cheese.

Those investments are not affected by O'Farrell's decision to leave 'Dragon's Den'.

Irish Independent

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