Mr Price to open central distribution warehouse

In an exclusive interview with ShelfLife, Mr Price's operations director Edel McSorley outlines plans to open an central distribution centre in Athlone in the coming weeks; a project involving an overall investment of €5 million

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Blog - Gillian Hamill

17 August 2018 | 0

Mr Price, the retailer specialising in “branded bargains” plans to open a new central distribution centre in Athlone by the end of next month.

In an exclusive interview with ShelfLife, operations director Edel McSorley said contractors have begun work at the 15 acre site in Athlone, on which 155,000sq ft of existing buildings currently stand.

It is understood the previous owner was a cabling and warehousing company which closed in 2005 and the buildings have been vacant since that date.

The central distribution centre into which an overall investment of €5 million is forecast, will be developed from the existing buildings in at least three phases over the next three years. “Our facilities team will be on site for 12 months in building the different phases, to introduce our full warehousing,” McSorley told ShelfLife. “We’re very keen to start functioning in Athlone so it’s all hands on deck.”

The Mr Price brand currently has 42 stores across the country with plans to open further shops. According to McSorley, a number of new store locations will be announced “very soon” on the brand’s Facebook page.

At the moment, orders are delivered directly to stores by suppliers and the business had also been operating from a small warehouse in Dublin. “Due to the size of our business and with expansion happening so quickly, we needed to find somewhere that was purpose-built [for distribution] that we could grow,” McSorley said.

The business has witnessed substantial expansion since it was first established by well-known Dublin retailing family, the Crinions in March 2010. “In year one, we opened eight stores and then throughout the years, [the rate of openings] would have varied from opening three to opening 12 in one year, so it’s fairly fast,” McSorley told ShelfLife.

Declan Crinion, Mr Price’s  managing director, is heading up an experienced team at its head office in Tallaght.  “We all come with 20 years plus retail experience,” McSorley told ShelfLife. “We have a team in HQ of 48 people at the moment and all of which are heavily experienced in business and predominantly retail.”

The opening of the central distribution centre in Athlone will create a significant number of jobs. “Up to Christmas, we will be recruiting 80 people and then in the next two years, we expect that to reach and exceed 200, which is a great boost for that area,” McSorley said.

The move is potentially also good news for suppliers who will be welcome without an appointment at the new Athlone facility. “We have an amazing buying team that scour the country, Europe and further afield and a fantastic base of suppliers which we’re always extending,” McSorley added. “We have an open door policy and we will be extending this into our Athlone facility as well, where suppliers don’t need an appointment. They don’t need to break through any barriers; they just walk in the door and meet one of our team and get a quick decision.”

For further details of Mr Price’s expansion plans, check out our full interview with operations director Edel McSorley which will appear in our September issue.



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