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

Job News

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.

Advice for Employers: How to Conduct an Interview

A new hire is one of the most significant business decisions you can make and a face to face interview is hands down the best way to decide on the right candidate but are you making the most of it? We take you through the best questions to ask a potential employee to gain the most knowledge possible about the person behind the CV.

We at Excel do the leg work in terms of finding exceptional candidates that have the right experience, qualifications and skills match your specifications and we ensure the candidates we present to you are the best of the best but ultimately, the final decision is yours.

By the time you’ve decided to interview someone we, and you, will have screened their CV thoroughly and decided that their experience and qualifications are suitable for the role, but is their personality and style? You know best the type of person that would be the most successful fit in your business.

The best interview questions tell you about the person rather than the CV and gain an insight into the candidate’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities. The most successful questions benefit the candidate and give them opportunity to speak to details that might not fit on a standard CV.

Tell me about yourself.

This question is probably the most obvious on the list, but with good reason. This question is a great way to start your interview and put your candidate at ease, as they will obviously know a lot about themselves. It gives you an opportunity to see their communication skills, confidence and personality from the get go.

From everything you’ve learned about this role, me and the company, tell me how you feel you could contribute to the business?

This question sorts out those that are serious about the role from those just chancing their arm. Those who have really prepared and want to work with you will be delighted to have a chance to show it. Those who don’t really want the job or those who are simply too lazy to Google you will either try and bluff and fail or falter completely.

Describe a time when something went wrong at work and how you dealt with it.

This question is ideal for learning about how your potential hire will handle the pressures of life and conflict in your office. The candidates answer will demonstrate their interpersonal and problem solving skills and help you determine whether they would fit well into the culture of your business.

Why should we hire you?

As we said earlier by the time you meet a candidate for interview, we at Excel have already established that on paper, they are right for the job but this question can help you hugely when deciding if they’re right for your business. Realistically you’re interviewing a number of candidates, all with similar qualifications. This question asks the candidates to define what sets them apart from the rest. An interviewee who does a great job explaining how her unique experience, education, industry credentials, and personal interests will power your business will do the same thing for your company once hired.

How would your boss/ coworkers describe you?

This question essentially ask what are your greatest strengths/weaknesses in a way that can cause interviewees to be more reflective in their answer. A good candidate will know there is no point in spoofing and will use real-life examples or quotes from their boss/ performance reviews that reflect the attributes they’ve already mentioned in the interview.

What kind of manager and colleagues have you had the most and least success with, and why?

This is a great question to ascertain the personality type of the candidate sitting in front of you. By asking this you’ll be able to figure out how they work best, and whether this fits in with how your team works best, or whether they seem to have a lot of conflicts with people or personality types.

hotel news

Hotel News – Major moves made in hotel properties

Ard Rí sold

The Ard Rí in Waterford city, one of Ireland’s most well-known hotels has been sold. The hotel has been closed for a number of years and its condition has deteriorated significantly. The hotel was a popular wedding venue, conference centre and holiday accommodation. Situated on an elevated site of approximately 21 acres, it has been sold for an undisclosed sum to a Kilkenny businessman who is based in Australia. Seamus Walsh intends to invest heavily in the project. He said: “I see huge opportunity for development in this area and look forward to transforming my new hotel to its former days of glory in these more modern times.” In 2015, Mr Walsh purchased another hotel in the area – the Waterford Castle Hotel- for more than €6m. The distinctive building takes up a large portion of the skyline north of the River Suir at Waterford.

Planning application for hotel in Dublin’s north inner city

A new planning application has been submitted for an eight-storey 249-bedroom hotel development at River House on Chancery Street in Dublin’s north inner city. The application was filed by Melonmount Ltd and will involve the demolition of the existing vacant six-storey building. The application proposes to build an independent cafe/restaurant unit at ground floor and mezzanine level. The remainder of the ground floor will have a hotel lobby, reception, breakfast area. The basement will have a fitness room, meeting and function rooms. The proposed development also includes public realm enhancement works to Chancery Street and Greek Street. Speaking to, Dublin city councillor Ray McAdam said: “In terms of the proposal, I welcome it. I really do. From a local point of view, it has been a scourge, whether you’re talking about looking at it or otherwise. It has been a source of a lot of anti-social behaviour and criminality.”

iNua Hospitality buys four-star Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan

iNua has bought the four star Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan marking its sixth Irish hotel purchases in the last three years. The Hillgrove Hotel was sold by long-time proprietors Colm and Audri Herron who plan to retire. iNua Hospitality currently own the five-star Muckross Park Hotel & Spa in Killarney, the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel and the Radisson Blu Hotels at Little Island in Cork, Limerick. Last July, it also acquired the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone.

The Hillgrove is set on its own private grounds extending to over six acres, opposite Macartan’s Cathedral , a few minutes from Monaghan Town Centre. The present owners acquired the hotel in April 2004 and, since then have invested in the addition of 43 spacious en-suite bedrooms and the development of the Living Well Leisure Centre & Spa facility which today has nearly 1,000 local members.