Retail News- New brands coming to Ireland and planned revamps


New Homesense stores coming to Ireland

Popular homeware retailer Homesense has announce plans to open two brand new Irish stores.

The new stores will stock household items and decorations and be similar in size in TK Maxx stores. The stores will open this summer with two locations in Dublin and Cork and will create 60 jobs.

Homesense is the sister company of TK Maxx and specialises in soft furnishings and homewares at what they say are hugely discounted prices. TK Maxx’s homeware selection is hugely popular with Irish shoppers, with the company being open in Ireland for the last 20 years.

The first of the Homesense stores will open on June 8th at Westend Shopping Park, Blanchardstown, with a second store, on Grand Parade, Cork, opening on June 15th.

€50 revamp planned for Blanchardstown Shopping Centre

Blanchardstown Shopping Centre is set to get a makeover as its owner US asset manager, Blackstone, is expected to pump €50m into the shopping complex within the next few years.

over the next few years as part of a planned revamp of its ageing West Dublin shopping centre.

New York-based Blackstone bought the centre last year from Green Property for €950m, one of the largest real estate deals in the State’s history.

The company have not confirmed the refurbishment but are said to have set aside money to overhaul the 20-year old Blanchardstown Centre under a multi-year programme.

Blackstone have a successful history of turning around struggling shopping centres. Occupancy rates and footfall at Blanchardstown are already high but retail sources claimed rent increases at the shopping centre were piling pressure on retailers.

Gourmet food range Dean and Deluca launches in Brown Thomas today

Dean & DeLuca launches today in Brown Thomas’ Grafton Street store today. This will be the gourmet food brand’s first European store.

There will be “an extensive range of gourmet goods” available to Brown Thomas customers both in the stores Soho-inspired Level 3 space and online, including a selection of Dean & DeLuca gourmet products and speciality items such as the famous pasta sauces and signature pasta, along with risotto kits, truffle oils, porcini sea salts and a French seasoning collection.

The brand’s famous confectionery range will also be available which includes including almonds and hazelnuts in fine chocolate, toffee caramels and cheesecake caramels, as well as a selection of kitchenware.

The best hotel breakfasts in Ireland have been revealed

The winners of the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards 2017 were announced yesterday. The award’s aim to celebrate one of the most underrated aspects of the Irish food industry, the traditional Irish breakfast.Despite the focus on traditional Irish, the rise in popularity of American style brunch was reflected this year with the addition of a new category.

Georgina Campbell is president of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild and the awards are run in association with Fáilte Ireland.

The award’s main focus was on the traditional Irish breakfast with the judges criteria being “a flavoursome rendition of the traditional plate, together with wholesome accompaniments including traditional Irish soda bread and good Irish butter”.Providers of standout versions of the most important meal of the day were recognised in various categories including country houses, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, and three-, four- and five-star hotels.

At the highest end of the scale, The Merrion hotel in Dublin was awarded for its “range, consistency and seamless service”, with its baked goods, charcuterie board “showcasing both Irish and international meats and artisan cheeses”, and house-blend coffee, singled out for mention.

The award for best four-star hotel breakfast was scooped by Ballynahinch Castle in Co Galway, where “breakfast is a high point of the experience”, according to the judging panel, with hotel’s own rare breed pork forming part of their extensive offering. Gougane Barra hotel in Co Cork took the three-star honours, with praise for “the breakfast meats from Twomey’s craft butchers” and the proprietor’s “rich walnut and treacle bread”. Ballymaloe Country House in Co Cork also triumphed, with the judges noting their emphasis on “fresh, local and seasonal”.

The best B&B breakfast in Ireland can be found at Corrib House Tea Rooms & Guest Accommodation in Galway, according to the judges, who noted the offering of Kilbeggan porridge with banana and cinnamon, and buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, in addition to the full Irish.

Full list of winners-


Five-star hotel: The Merrion, Dublin

Highly commended: Culloden Estate & Spa, Belfast and The Europe Hotel & Resort, Killarney

Four-star hotel: Ballynahinch Castle, Recess, Co Galway

Highly commended: The Mustard Seed, Ballingarry and Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena

Three-star hotel: Gougane Barra Hotel, Macroom, Co Cork

Highly commended: Killeen House Hotel, Killarney and Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel

Country House: Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Co Cork

Highly commended: Roundwood House, Mountrath and Rathmullan House, Co Donegal

Guest House: Newforge House, Magheralin, Co Down

Highly commended: MacNean House, Blacklion and Inch House, Thurles

B&B: Corrib House, Galway

Highly commended: Ballinwillin House, Mitchelstown and The Mill Restaurant & Accommodation, Dunfanaghy

Welcome Standard: Burren Glamping, Kilfenora, Co Clare

Highly commended: Bervie, Achill Island and The Tannery, Dungarvan

Visitor Attraction: Overends at Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin

Highly commended: Native by Yellow Door at the MAC, Belfast and Courtyard Café, Birr Castle, Co Offaly

Brunch: Rua, Castlebar, Co Mayo

Highly commended: Knox, Sligo and Hatch & Sons Irish Kitchen, Dublin

Irish breakfast foods

Meats: O’Neill’s dry cure bacon

Fish: Burren Smokehouse smoked salmon

Cereals: Flahavan’s Oats

Dairy: Clandeboye Estate yoghurt release mathematic formula for ‘perfect hotel’

Popular travel site have released their mathematic formula for the perfect hotel and according to the study, doing the simple things well matters far more than extras such as complimentary Wi-Fi.

The research was based on 148 comments pulled from over 5 million trusted guest reviews on hundreds of thousands of hotels worldwide. From the comments, were able to see what customers positively highlighted most often and using the date were able to create the formula for the perfect hotel stay. According to the research, cleanliness was the most important aspect of a hotel stay with reviewer mentions showing a squeaky clean hotel is 35 times more important than an extensive complimentary breakfast offering, an onsite swimming pool or free internet access.

Second most important was friendly,helpful staff, followed by a comfy bed in third place. The hotel’s location also ranked high in importance for reviewers. Regardless of price, value for money was also a high priority for visitors. The vast majority of reviewers said benefits such as soundproofing, swimming pools, free breakfast packages and complimentary Wi-Fi were less of a priority but were considered an added bonus or ‘cherry on the cake’ if they were available.

Below is’s formula for the perfect hotel stay. The letters signify each aspect of a hotel stay mentioned by the reviewers and the corresponding numbers indicating the level of importance traveller associated with each point.

C35 + F25 + B10 + D7 + P2 + ½H + Q + Br + S + W = Hotel Perfection


F = How friendly are the staff

C= Perceived cleanliness of the room

B= How comfortable is the bed

P= Perceived Reasonable Price

Q= Quietness of the room

S = Swimming pool

Br= Breakfast is included

D = Location/Walking distance/access

W = Free Wi-Fi

H= Hot drink available to make in room

HP = Overall hotel perfection

Aldi open their 129th Irish store in Co Clare, creating 15 new jobs


Aldi open 129th Irish store in Co Clare, creating 15 new jobs.

Supermarket chain Aldi have opened their 129th Irish store in Co. Clare creating 15 new jobs. The latest branch of the German retailer, is based in Ennistymon, Co Clare.

Aldi opened their first Irish store 18 years ago with the first store opening in November 1999.

Speaking at the official opening on Friday, Declan Coyne Manager of the new Ennistymon store, said: “We are delighted to open our new Ennistymon store and look forward to welcoming many new customers from the local area.

“Aldi has grown in popularity across Ireland in recent years and we are pleased to make the quality, value and variety of our product ranges available to more people throughout Co. Clare.”

Aldi used the new store launch to highlight their commitment to Irish suppliers. In the last five years Aldi has recruited over 70 new Irish suppliers, meaning Aldi now partners with more than 175 Irish producers.

Over 50% of Aldi’s supplier spend is now with Irish suppliers, producers and manufacturers.

All of the retailer’s fresh meats, fresh poultry, eggs, bread, flour, and many of its teas, coffees, soft drinks, waters and snacks are provided by leading Irish suppliers.

Managing Director of BWG Foods Willie O’Byrne has been elected as the new chairman of Retail Ireland

Mr O’Byrne will serve a two-year term at the helm of the retail arm of Ibec. He replaces Conor Whelan, who recently stepped down as managing director of bookseller Eason. Maxol Group chief executive Brian Donaldson will serve as vice-chairman of the organisation.

At the announcement, Mr O’Byrne discussed the current landscape of the retail industry, including the challenges posed by the Brexit fallout and rising costs at home. “Retail is an exciting, dynamic and innovative industry and I look forward to working with the Retail Ireland team to ensure that the many issues facing the sector are fully recognised and addressed.”

“The industry is facing a number of challenges which we as an organisation must address immediately. These include the fallout from Brexit, which has already impacted upon consumer sentiment, with retail sales growth softening considerably in the months following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union” he said.

“We also must work with Government to address the rising costs Irish retailers face which – allied to the emerging threat from foreign online-only retailers – threaten to undermine the future sustainability of the sector.”

Retail Ireland has called on the Government to centralise its support for the retail sector and introduce a tax credit that would help Irish companies compete with international online retailers.

Retail Ireland works to represent the retail sector’s interests to Government, media and all other stakeholders, the body is affiliated to employers’ group Ibec.

Howl At The Moon nightclub to be replaced by 53-room hotel

An application has been submitted to DCC for planning permission to demolish Howl at the Moon nightclub on Lower Mount Street, Dublin and build a 53-room hotel on the site.

Dale Vision, a company associated with Oakmount, the development company headed by Paddy McKillen Jnr and Matt Ryan is behind the application. The location was previously part of the Capital Bars group and was sold in 2014 to Danu Investment Partners, along with other well-known Dublin venues, the George, the Dragon (since reopened as NoLita) and Café en Seine in a €15 million deal.

The venues became part of the Mercantile Group following a merger in 2016with Howl At The Moon being sold again some months later to Oakmount for a reported €3.2 million.

The present building is noticeably different from the rest of the buildings on Lower Mount Street. Standing at three storeys, the nightclub is significantly shorter than its Georgian neighbours, the majority of which are four to five storeys over-basement. The current building also lacks the brick façade of every other building on the street.

Oakmount plan to replace the existing building with a six storey hotel with a brick front.

Oakmount already owns one completed hotel, The Dean on Harcourt Street, Dublin, and has planning permission for two more in Ranelagh and North Wall Quay.

The layout of the new hotel will be similar to that of the company’s others, featuring a bar and reception area at ground floor and a rooftop restaurant including outdoor terraces. The four floors designated for accommodation will contain 53 guest rooms, while the basement will contain function rooms and a meeting room.

Oakmount’s hotel in Ranelagh village is currently under construction and is due for completion in June 2018. The 1,868sq m hotel will offer 41 guest rooms, a bar and restaurant at ground floor and a rooftop restaurant, in addition to a small art-house cinema.

Construction is due to begin soon on its 58-bedroom hotel on North Wall Quay, which will likely open in late 2018 following an 18-month build.

In all, Oakmount will have 204 rooms across its four hotels once they are all completed, assuming the Mount Street plans are approved in their current form.

phibsboro shopping centre

€50 million redevelopment planned for Phibsboro Shopping Centre

A €50 million plan to redevelop and refurbish Phibsboro Shopping Centre has been announced today. The real estate capital company MM Capital announced this morning that it has lodged an application with Dublin City Council for the redevelopment of the 2.8 acre on Dublin’s northside.

The proposal submitted by the company consists of the redevelopment of the existing retail space and the addition of extra retail and commercial office space, along with a civic plaza MM Capital have said they had a provisional target is to complete the proposals over a 24-month time-frame. The plans include student accommodation on the site with 340 beds. The overall site currently comprises an open strip mall of ground floor retail units, the former tram depot comprising mainly single-storey warehouse building, and the Tramway End, the former east terrace of Dalymount Stadium.

The existing office building will be upgraded and refurbished as part of the development works and the existing Tesco store, off licence and Eddie Rocket’s are excluded from the proposals.

If Dublin City Council grant the planning permission, the Phibsboro Shopping Centre development will incorporate nearly 3,000 square metres of new retail space, an upgrade of the existing 1,667 square metres of the existing retail units, the redevelopment of over 3,700 square metres of existing office space and the provision of nearly 1,400 square metres of new commercial office for new tenants and a new civic plaza which will potentially facilitate a new entranceway to a redeveloped Dalymount Park.

The student accommodation would also see a new cycle route created between the North Circular Road and Connaught Street.

Job News: Chopped to create 320 jobs and Boojum to open 2 new stores

Chopped announce plans to open 20 new stores, creating 320 jobs

320 jobs will be created across Ireland as healthy fast food chain Chopped announce plans to open 20 new stores across the country. The franchise which has expanded rapidly and experienced phenomenal success since opening in 2011 currently sells over 20,000 salads on a weekly basis from its 19 existing stores.

By the end of 2017, around 320 jobs, both part-time and full-time, will be available in new stores opening in Wicklow, Cork, Waterford and Dublin. A further 110 jobs will be created in the UK as Chopped grows internationally for the very first time, opening six new stores there.

The new outlets – which will be a mix of wholly owned and franchises outlets – will join existing Chopped locations in Dublin, Kildare and Galway.

New Boojum stores on the way

Mexican burrito chain Boojum are continuing their rapid expansion with a new branch will be located along the Grand Canal at 63-65 Mespil Road, Dublin 4.

This will be Boojum’s 10th store. They’re in the process of hiring 30 staff for the new project including managers and supervisors. he hugely popular chain have also begun plans for a new store in Galway’s Eyre Square. Boojum 3 Ltd have sought permission for a change of use of the former Spar shop at 25 Eyre Square (beside the Skeff) to a restaurant and take-away.The new store will create around 25 new jobs, with a mix of full and part-time jobs available. Once opened they will roll out services including delivery, click n’ collect and a catering service for businesses, private and public events.

The new Boojums will join the much-loved stores on Millennium Walkway, Abbey Street and Kevin Street in Dublin and Spanish Parade in Galway.

Irish grocery market slips into deflation for first time in two years

The Irish grocery market has slipped into deflation for the first time since May 2015. Grocery prices dropped 0.7 percentage points month-on-month to -0.2% in the 12 weeks ending 26 March 2017, according to data published by Kantar Worldpanel. Kantar conducted a survey of 30,000 products stocked in supermarkets across Ireland and the results show that prices are trending downwards.

Bottled colas saw the biggest price cut in the 12 weeks with the cost of goods such as 2 litre bottles of Coca-Cola and Pepsi dropping by as much as 10%. Biscuits are another item also getting cheaper, falling by as much as 8% during the period, while frozen vegetables fell also fell by 8%. The price of coffee has also fallen, by up to 6% during the period. This decrease comes after a supply crunch saw prices shoot up.

Despite the overall trend leaning towards falling prices, certain areas and products saw substantial price jumps. The price of fresh fish skyrocketed during the period, increasing by 12% while tinned fish also rose in price by 4%. Herbal teas and packet soup also increased significantly by 8% each, and sugar rose by 5%.The average price of a bottle of wine also rose, up by 3 per cent in the latest survey.


SuperValu regain top spot in battle for biggest grocery retailer

SuperValu have regained the top spot in the battle for Ireland’s biggest grocery retailer. Dunnes Stores has held the spot for the previous two months but SuperValu finished with a market share of 22.6% ahead this month, preventing Dunnes (22.3%) from achieving three in a row.

Despite losing the top spot, Dunnes’ sales grew by 3.2% year-on-year marking the 30th consecutive period of growth for the retailer. Lidl’s success continues too as the retailer experiences a 3.7% increase in sales. Customers visited Lidl stores once more over the past 12 weeks, compared to the same period last year. Aldi retain their crown as Ireland’s fasting growing retailer with sales growing by 5.0%. The retailer increased its market share to 11.3%, closing the gap with its closest rival Lidl to just 0.1%.

Kantar’s latest figures also illustrate an emerging trend amongst consumers towards own label product. Own label goods now account for 54% of total grocery spend – up 6% in the past four years. Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl are responsible for driving the trend with the majority of their stock is made up of own-label so they have driven this growth, with shoppers now also more accustomed to seeing own-label ranges on shelves.

“SuperValu and Tesco have both responded and expanded their own-label ranges,” said David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel Berry “The retailers see this as a real opportunity for growth, with own-label lines offering them the chance to set themselves apart from the rest.

However well-known brands are still dominating in Dunnes Stores, with own-label accounting for just 38% of the retailer’s sales this year – up only 1% since 2013, much lower than its competitors.