Tuesday 24 October 2017

Retailer Eason to spend €5m more on store upgrades

Conor Whelan, managing director of Eason, with staff members
Conor Whelan, managing director of Eason, with staff members
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Retail group Eason is to invest €5m revamping its store network this year and next.

It will see it upgrade outlets in Waterford, Limerick, Kerry and Dublin. Eason has already spent €2m upgrading its flagship O'Connell Street outlet in the capital.

Conor Whelan, the managing director of Eason, said the store's capital investment has been a key part of the retailer's strategy to put the business on a sustainable footing, stabilise sales and return it to growth.

"This has included the introduction of a number of new retail concepts and product categories into our stores, which have helped offset the declines experienced in our traditional categories," he said.

At its O'Connell Street store, Eason has introduced retail concepts including fashion stationery, a new crafts department, as well as its own-brand range of giftware.

There are 63 Eason stores on the island, including 35 group-owned outlets, and 28 operated by franchisees. It also has wholesale and online operations.

"Whilst the recovery is still fragile, the overall trading environment is gradually improving and, importantly for Eason, we're seeing signs of stabilisation in the book market," according to Mr Whelan.

"On the back of our investment in recent years, we're now emerging with a well invested store estate and strong digital platforms, which puts us in a good position as we seek to implement our ambitious commercial strategy and capitalise on the recovery to deliver growth in the business in the coming years."

Eason is owned by over 230 shareholders. In the financial year to the end of January 2015 it generated revenue of €225m, which was 1.1pc lower than in the previous year. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the 2015 financial year rose €200,000 to €5.8m.

Eason also plans to introduce a number of other initiatives at its O'Connell Street outlet.

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