Retail Excellence: Dunnes Stores is undermining town centre trade
Retail Excellence chief David Fitzsimons has hit out at Dunnes Stores for their practice of leaving lots empty in town centres across the country.
22 May 2017
Retail Excellence, one of Ireland’s largest representative groups, has accused Dunnes Stores of ‘choking’ development with its practices and undermining trade in town centres.
David Fitzsimons, CEO of Retail Excellence told the Seanad that the retail giant has left several units vacant in towns across the country, after vacatin them to move its operations to buildings on the outskirts of towns.
Fora.ie reports the issue was raised in the Senate when FG’s Martin Conway compained about a large former Dunnes Stores unit in Tralee town centre. “The existence of this unit in Tralee is choking development in the area,” Fitzsimons said, “as there has been no effort made to rent it out to an alternative business.”
The instance in Tralee is being repeated all over the country, Fitzsimons alleged.
“These empty units \re undermining the ability of towns to trade well,” he said. “These shops are vacant space and they tie the hands of local planners and authorities.”
Fitzsimons said the solution is to think about town centres as social spaces rather than commercial opportunities. “We need to think about town centres from a societal perspective,” he said. “We need urban centres where people can congregate as well as have a shopping experience.”