Wetherspooon’s could open up to 6 Dublin pubs

“We believe there’s an opportunity to do well there” – Tim Martin.
“We believe there’s an opportunity to do well there” – Tim Martin.

JD Wetherspoon is to enter the Dublin pub market.

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Off-trade

3 September 2013

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Wetherspoon founder and Chairman Tim Martin confirmed that the company plans to purchase properties in the Dublin market some 10 years after it abandoned its first attempt to open in the capital when it acquired the freehold on a furniture warehouse in the heart of the city for more than €2 million. It was reported at the time that it had subsequently sold the premises at a loss.
And he said there was the ‘potential’ to open as many as six pubs in Dublin if it’s successful with its first opening. The company already has nine outlets in Northern Ireland.

“We have made a few offers on sites in the Republic of Ireland,” he stated, “Nothing has been signed or sealed. We believe there’s an opportunity to do well there.”

The market, although still not cheap, is more affordable than 10 years ago – at that point you could open 10 pubs in the UK for the cost of a Dublin pub, he explained.

The Irish Times reported recently that the company, which already runs nine pubs in Northern Ireland, is about to buy Tonic in Blackrock village.

The pub and restaurant on the ground floor cover some 5,200 square feet while an upstairs nightclub, which can hold about 350 people, covers 4,100 square feet.

Wetherspoon is reported to be spending €1 million on buying the freehold of the pub, currently being advertised by estate agents Morrissey’s and Bannon, whose website says terms have been agreed on the premises.
According to the sales brochure the pub, bistro and nightclub at the premises continue to trade successfully and it has “medium-term redevelopment potential”.

It’s currently being managed on behalf of AIB and pays about €45,000 in rates to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Although doing better of late, the on-trade in Dublin witnessed  five years of steady decline since 2008, with consumers cutting spending on drink by nearly 20% in the face of high pub prices and the global financial crisis that hit the Irish economy very hard.This also heralded a move towards more drinking at home.

Wetherspoon, which made Operating Profits of £107 million last year on revenues of £1.2 billion, has 890 pubs as well as a chain of hotels in the UK and is understood to be scouting for other sites in Dublin.

Its Chief Executive, John Hetson, is due over later this week to look at potential sites.

“We believe there’s an opportunity to do well there” – Tim Martin.

“We believe there’s an opportunity to do well there” – Tim Martin.

 

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