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Clerys fighting to stay afloat

Clerys is fighting a battle of survival on O'Connell Street.

The iconic Dublin department store, which survived the 1916 Easter Rising, admitted that it is facing mounting challenges unless there is a dramatic turnaround in consumer spending.

Turnover, including income from concessions operating in the store, fell 15pc to €21.9m in 2010.

The gross transaction value of sales, which includes income earned by concessionaires and VAT, fell 8pc to about €47m.

A statement issued by the group said that it required "significant capital input" to redevelop its property portfolio. But it said that it had been exploring a "range of options" to secure that finance.

It also said that a number of well-known brands were still seeking to open concessions in the store.

Clery & Co also stated that it had "made and continues to make significant cost savings" and would seek "further efficiencies throughout all aspects of the business".

The retailer is due to repay bank loans of €20m in the new year. Christmas shopping is expected to provide some sort of boost -- and is expected to be better than last year, when sales were hit by snowy weather. However, it warned that although trading "improved considerably" in the January sales period, the recovery was "no substitute in volume or margin terms" for the lost pre-Christmas trade.