Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

DIY company deal saves 45 jobs

Forty-five jobs have been saved after B and Q struck a cheaper rent deal with one of its landlords to keep open a store

Forty-five jobs have been saved after B&Q struck a cheaper rent deal with one of its landlords to keep open a store.

Athlone was one of several units threatened with closure after the DIY and garden centre company went into examinership earlier this year.

Management blamed the wider economic downturn and the issue of upward-only rent reviews which has dogged a large section of the retail sector.

B&Q Ireland said the Athlone store will return to normal opening and stay open so long as the wider examinership process is successful.

Negotiations on revised rent arrangements for some of the other seven stores are ongoing. The Waterford store will close on May 4 as planned.

B&Q Ireland had nine large outlets including Cork, Galway, Limerick, Naas, and at three Dublin locations in Liffey Valley, Swords and Tallaght.

Other big name retailers to have hit out at the upward-only rent review system in Ireland include Monsoon, which asked all its landlords for a reduction; HMV, which was already struggling due to the popularity of downloads; and Bewleys Cafe, which last week won a case against its landlord for a rent reduction in line with the market rates.

B&Q, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kingfisher, the home improvement retailer, kept on all 690 staff during the planned examinership which started at the end of January.

It had proposed the closure of the Athlone and Waterford outlets and suggested that another two go on economic grounds.

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