The Dundrum Town Centre space currently held by House of Fraser is set to be split between luxury retailer Brown Thomas and discount fashion chain Penneys, the Irish Independent understands.
The moves follow House of Fraser staff being informed that its flagship store in Ireland would shut within the coming three months after its owner, Sports Direct, failed to renegotiate the cost of its lease with Dundrum Town Centre owners Hammerson and Allianz.
Brown Thomas Arnotts confirmed it will take on two floors and 63,000 square feet (5,900 square metres) at House of Fraser’s current location. This will mean closing Brown Thomas’s existing, much smaller BT2 outlet in Dundrum.
Penneys and others involved in its potential acquisition of the remaining House of Fraser space declined to confirm that half of negotiations on the record, saying that an agreement had yet to be signed.
But officials in two of the concerned parties, talking to the Irish Independent on condition they not be identified, said negotiations with Penneys parent Primark were advanced and no other potential tenants were in active consideration.
Both Penneys and Brown Thomas are owned by Ireland’s wealthiest family, the Westons, who hold a majority stake in Primark’s parent firm, Associated British Foods.
Like Brown Thomas, Penneys also already operates an existing outlet in Dundrum Town Centre, Ireland’s largest shopping centre. So the planned move into House of Fraser’s larger space could mean creating two new holes in Dundrum Town Centre’s retail map.
Brown Thomas Arnotts managing director Donald McDonald said the new outlet would have 45,000 square feet (4,200 square metres) of retail space.
“We have been looking for a larger space at Dundrum for a number of years to enable us to deliver a more enhanced customer experience, and in particular, to help grow our successful BT2 business there,” Mr McDonald said.
“Brown Thomas Dundrum will reflect the considerable investment we’ve made in recent years to make our stores and online platforms exciting and inspiring destinations for our customers, who can expect unrivalled product ranges and innovative new retail and digitally enabled concepts at Dundrum once opened,” he said.
“In the mean time, it will be business as usual for the existing BT2 store in Dundrum, and for customers and team members.”
It will not be BT’s biggest branch. The Brown Thomas store on Grafton Street extends to 130,000 square feet (12,000 square metres).