Belfast Telegraph

Big shake-up under way in boardroom at Dunnes Stores

Driving force: Margaret Heffernan
Driving force: Margaret Heffernan

By John MUlligan

Operational control of Irish grocery giant Dunnes Stores is undergoing what is arguably its biggest change in more than a generation as matriarch Margaret Heffernan increasingly cedes much of her hands-on role at the dynasty to her daughter Anne.

Anne Heffernan (49) and Margaret Heffernan's niece, Sharon McMahon (47), have both just been appointed directors of all Dunnes Stores companies.

While they've both been involved in the Dunnes Stores business for some time, industry insiders say that Anne Heffernan is now the de facto leader of day-to-day operations, especially on the food side. Sharon McMahon is understood to be running the retail group's property and investment interests.

She has previously been reportedly involved in the textiles side of the retailer.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

For years there has been continuing speculation about whether Dunnes Stores could be sold, or if a new generation would gradually succeed Margaret Heffernan (75) and her brother Frank Dunne (74), who for decades have been the duo in charge at the business.

Dunnes has reduced its Northern Ireland store numbers in the last few years.

In June it shut its Bangor branch. That followed closure of a store at Connswater in east Belfast and one at the Park Centre in west Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph