Bridgewater Shopping Centre in Arklow is set to get a major shake-up as it has been confirmed that Argos is due to close later this summer.
Argos has been owned by UK-based supermarket group Sainsbury’s since 2016 and the they announced late in 2020 that they would close 420 standalone stores, mainly in the UK.
The idea was to boost profitability as things reopened post-pandemic by incorporating more Argos counters into Sainsbury’s stores, rather than having additional costs of separate premises.
With no Sainsbury’s shops in the Republic of Ireland, it was unclear if these closures would include stores in that jurisdiction, but already Limerick’s Crescent Shopping Centre outlet has closed, as has the Argos in Dublin’s Jervis Street Shopping Centre.
It’s understood that staff at Arklow Argos have received notice that the store will close in mid-July as part of parent company Sainsbury’s continued overhaul of the business.
According to Argos’s website, this would leave 34 Republic of Ireland stores, down from 40 in 2012 when it was revealed by then owners Home Retail that the company would undergo a transformation to a digitally-led operation.
It would also leave the Bridgewater Shopping Centre with a sizeable vacant unit.
It is believed that already popular clothing company Penneys has expressed interest in taking this unit and others at the centre.
If Penney’s do take up residence, it will be the first Penneys store to come to county Wicklow.
It has also been rumoured that Penney’s will become the anchor tenant at Bray’s new shopping and entertainment site Bray Central.
At the time of going to print, Sainbury’s and Penneys could not be reached, while the Bridgewater Shopping Centre and Argos declined to comment at this time.
However, in Sainsbury’s latest report – preliminary results for the 52 weeks up to March 5 – they stated: “We are making good progress in Argos’s end-to-end transformation programme, which will save £105 million over three years.
“We have opened five Local Fulfilment Centres (LFCs) and as a result, our customers are benefitting from improved availability, faster delivery and more collection options; we plan to open nine more LFCs this year.
“In line with improving availability and convenience for customers whilst reducing costs, this year we opened 64 Argos stores inside Sainsbury’s supermarkets plus 62 in-store collection points. We have closed 73 standalone Argos stores this year.”
In contrast, Penneys, owned by Dublin-founded Primark announced last November that it would be investing €250million in its Irish stores. It is also set to launch a new website for Ireland this summer.