High ranking executives let go at Dunnes Stores
4 November 2013
In a surprising move that has been greeted by dismay within the company, a total of up to 18 high ranking executives are believed to have been let go at Dunnes Stores last week.
The executives, including Dunnes Stores’ chief of security, Damian O’Reilly, are understood to have learnt their fate from management last Friday, 1 November
What’s more, a number of Dunnes’ senior staff have also returned to the UK in recent times, with Andrew Rigney, who was head of operations, amongst them.
With John McNiffe back on top an industry insider told ShelfLife: "McNiffe is back in charge and it would seem it’s a case of the old dog for the hard road."
Meanwhile Harry Mullen, former chief of personnel is understood to have been reallocated to the position of store manager at Dunnes Stores Rathmines.
An industry source told ShelfLife the retailer’s turnover is allegedly down with an accompanying "big fall in margin". Drapery and homeware departments, it would seem, are not performing as hoped.
Our source said an usually mild winter to date has affected sales of "heavy winter woollies" with the market proving "a lot slower in taking off this year".
On a more positive note, Dunnes Stores has fared better in grocery sales due to strong promotions and discounting, but nevertheless its margin is thought to have been severely dented by poorer fashion and homeware sales.
The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, published for the 12 weeks ending 13 October, show Dunnes’ ‘Shop and Save’ campaign helped to drive sales growth of 5%, and boosted its market share by one percentage point to 23%.
David Berry, commercial director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "Many of the grocery retailers have been actively targeting shoppers with money saving vouchers in recent months and this has led to a change in consumer shopping habits. Shoppers have switched from the ‘little and often’ approach to stocking up, making fewer trips, but purchasing more items per shop."
Meanwhile, it has been reported that cost cutting at the UK arm of Dunnes Stores meant that profits there actually jumped last year, despite falling sales.
Pre-tax profits at Dunnes’ British branch soared by 29% to £15.9m (€18.5m) in the year ending to February – despite sales falling by 5% to £157m.
Dunnes Stores has unlimited status in Ireland and is subsequently not required to file annual accounts to the Companies Office.