Debenhams Ireland was a national chain of department stores in Ireland, that was owned ultimately by Debenhams plc. It was largely based on the former Roches Store chain, though after that business divested its grocery units.

Debenhams Ireland
Company typeSubsidiary of Debenhams
PredecessorRoches Stores (1901–2006)
Founded1901 (as Roches Stores)
2007 (as Debenhams Ireland)
FounderWilliam Roche (Roches Stores)
Defunct9 April 2020; 4 years ago (9 April 2020)
Headquarters54-62 Henry Street, Dublin 1, Republic of Ireland
Area served
Republic of Ireland
Key people

Kieran Wallace
Andrew O’Leary


Ian Deegan
John Bebbington
Sinead O’Connor
  • Fashion clothing
  • toys
  • gifts
  • shoes accessories
  • cosmetics
  • home furniture
  • electrical & seasonal
Revenue181 million (2016)[1]
-55.5 million (2016)[1]
-5.8 million (2016)[1]
OwnerDebenhams plc
Number of employees
2,000 (2019)
ParentDebenhams Retail (Ireland) Ltd

History edit

Roches Stores (1901–2007) edit

Debenhams Ireland has its origins in Roches Stores, a business founded in Cork in 1901 by William Roche, as a small furniture shop, the chain grew to eleven stores throughout Ireland. At their peak, eight of the locations also had co-located grocery stores.[2] Roches Stores began to exit the grocery trade in 1999, leasing its stores to SuperValu,[3] although some of these stores closed after mere months.[4] In October 2007, Roches Stores ceased operating.[5]

Debenhams (1996–2007) edit

The UK operations of Debenhams entered the Republic of Ireland as an opening anchor of the Jervis Shopping Centre in 1996,[6] with a second store an opening anchor at Mahon Point Shopping Centre in 2005.[7]

Debenhams Ireland (2007–2020) edit

On 8 August 2006, it was announced that Debenhams would buy the leaseholds of nine of the 11 Roches Stores for €29 million.[8] Under the deal, the stores, including those in St. Patrick's Street in Cork and Henry Street in Dublin would be rebranded as Debenhams stores. The Roche family retained the ownership of the stores, and Debenhams became the new tenants. Marks & Spencer had agreed to acquire the company's Wilton outlet in Cork; however that deal later fell through due to a dispute over rent with the owners of the centre.[9] The eleventh store, in Dublin's Nutgrove Shopping Centre, was closed.[10]

Due to poor sales, Debenhams Retail (Ireland) announced in January 2010 that it would cut 170 jobs within its Republic of Ireland stores.[11]

In November 2010 Debenhams launched, the retailer's new Irish online store.[12]

On 12 May 2016 Debenhams Ireland filed for examinership (analogous to the US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection process), which it exited successfully on 19 August 2016.[13]

On 9 April 2019, the parent company based in the UK announced that it had gone into pre-pack administration.[14] On 26 April 2019, Debenhams Ireland confirmed to customers it was under a 'new management structure'[15] and the company Debenhams Ireland Ltd (including Northern Ireland stores) would not be affected by the administration process taking place in the UK.[16] The only Republic of Ireland locations of Patisserie Valerie were concessions located in Debenhams branches, and these closed when the parent chain entered administration.[17]

The parent company (Debenhams plc) went into administration once again on 6 April 2020.[18] On 9 April 2020, Debenhams Ireland confirmed to its employees that the company would no longer operate in the Republic of Ireland.[19][20] It said that stores would not reopen following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions placed by the Government of Ireland due to the impending uncertain economic conditions faced in Ireland. The company would file for liquidation during the week beginning 13 April 2020. Despite efforts to save Debenhams in Ireland in 2016, by separating Debenhams in the UK from Debenhams in Ireland, efforts to retain the Irish business had been unsuccessful. The closure of the stores in Ireland resulted in the loss of 1,400 direct jobs and a further 700 concession related jobs.[21] The website continued to trade until December 2020 when the company suspended it due to uncertainties over brexit and trade rules.[22]

Closure of stores edit

In April 2020, with the parent company going into administration, it was announced that Debenhams Ireland stores—which were already temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—would be permanently closed.[23]

Stores permanently closed include:

The oldest store, in Cork's St Patrick's Street, had been trading in that location for over 100 years.[24]

Since the closures in April, workers have protested and prevented stock from being removed from all of the 11 stores, for last 400 plus days, as of May 2021, in order to secure 2+2 collectively agreed redundancy payments.[25][26][27][28]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Finances". The Irish Times/Debenhams Ireland. 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Roches Stores to give up grocery trade". Irish Examiner. 1 February 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  3. ^ Brendan Mcgrath (17 September 1998). "Roches Stores links up with Musgrave's Supervalu chain". Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Three SuperValus at Roches Stores to close". independent.
  5. ^ "Cork's Roches Stores veterans recall shop that 'stocked everything'". Irish Times. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  6. ^ Siobhan Creaton (27 December 1996). "UK outlets in a rush to set up shop". Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  7. ^ "€230m Mahon Point centre opens in Cork". 2 February 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Debenhams beefs up Irish presence". BBC News. 8 August 2006. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Fears for jobs at Roches Stores in Cork". RTÉ News. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Roches sells retail arm for €29m". 8 September 2006.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ 320 jobs to go as staff at retailer and airline face axe
  12. ^ "Debenhams goes digital with the launch of". PR Newswire. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Debenhams applies for examinership to restructure its business in Ireland". Breaking News. 12 May 2016.
  14. ^ Butler, Sarah (9 April 2019). "Debenhams is taken over by lenders as Mike Ashley loses £150m stake". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  15. ^ Mark Paul (10 April 2019). "'Business as usual' at Irish Debenhams as group up for sale". Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Debenhams Ireland reassures staff and customers as UK store enters administration". 9 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  17. ^ Peter Hamilton (23 January 2019). "Patisserie Valerie's two Irish stores closed after 'significant fraud'". Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  18. ^ Eley, Jonathan (6 April 2020). "Debenhams files for administration". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Coronavirus Ireland: Debenhams heading into liquidation with 11 Irish stores to remain closed after Covid-19 lockdown". independent.
  20. ^ Goodbody, Will (9 April 2020). "Debenhams to put Irish operations into liquidation". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Debenhams pull the plug in Ireland". FM104.
  22. ^ Ganly, Conor (18 December 2020). "Brexit uncertainty halts deliveries to Ireland from big UK chain". Leinster Express. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  23. ^ Zoe Wood (9 April 2020). "Debenhams appoints administrators and liquidates Irish chain". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Roches Stores to quit food retailing". Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  25. ^ "WATCH: Former Debenhams workers vow to continue round-the-clock pickets going at Limerick store".
  26. ^ Kelleher, Olivia (20 August 2020). "Debenhams staff in Cork brave Storm Ellen to avoid stock being taken from store". Cork Beo.
  27. ^ O'Sullivan, Jennie (18 August 2020). "Former Debenhams workers protest at KPMG in Cork" – via RTÉ.ie.
  28. ^ Oireachtas, Houses of the (22 July 2020). "Debenhams Ireland Redundancies: Motion [Private Members] – Dáil Éireann (33rd Dáil) – Wednesday, 22 Jul 2020 – Houses of the Oireachtas".

External links edit