Eason takeover welcomed but rents still too high
Eason & Son will operate seven former Hughes & Hughes outlets at Dublin and Cork airports, and retain 120 former employees.
16 March 2010
Eason & Son has signed a licence with the Dublin Airport Authority for the operation of the seven outlets at Dublin and Cork airports that were previously part of the Hughes & Hughes chain.
As part of the agreement, Eason & Son is likely to retain about 120 former Hughes & Hughes employees. The company will add the seven airport outlets to its existing portfolio of 54 Irish stores.
Hughes & Hughes was placed in receivership at the end of February, but the stores at Dublin and Cork airports continued to trade under an agreement between the DAA and the receiver, David Carson of Deloitte. The licence with Eason & Son covers five stores at Dublin Airport and two outlets at Cork Airport. Under the agreement, Eason will pay the DAA a percentage of turnover rather than a fixed annual rent. This system also previously applied to Hughes & Hughes.
Vincent Jennings, chief executive of the CSNA said that his association obviously welcomed that fact that seven of the Hughes & Hughes outlets had been taken over by Eason & Son. “But” he said, “the demise of Hughes & Hughes is indicative of the malaise that is affecting all Irish retailers- the costs of doing business in this country are too high. Rents, rates, wages are all too high. Add to this the enormous competition coming from the likes of Amazon and supermarket multiples and you are left with a business that can no longer afford to stay in business. It’s a case of the chicken coming home to roost!”
Jennings also said that the late Conor Crowley who had operated newsagents in Cork Airport for seventeen years did not renew his lease with the DAA a number of years ago because he simply could not see how he could pay the DAA what they wanted and still make money from the business. “Conor was at the top of his game and knew his business inside out so it will be interesting to see what will happen in the future with these airport outlets,”he said.