Belfast Telegraph

450 jobs axed as M&S closes stores

More than 450 jobs are being axed in a wave of retail closures as one of Ireland's best known supermarket brands will disappear from neighbourhoods around the country.

SuperValu has revealed it will take over the name of Ireland's remaining 22 Superquinn stores nationwide, resulting in the loss of 102 administration jobs over the next 18 months.

Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer (M&S) Ireland announced plans to cut 180 jobs with the closure of four stores in the Republic of Ireland later this month. And separately, up to 180 jobs are expected to go at an M&S distribution warehouse operation, run by DHL, in Mallusk, Nowtownabbey, Co Antrim.

Jonathan Glenister, head of M&S Ireland, insisted the chain remains fully committed to its Irish business and 17 other shops nationwide.

"We have traded here for the last 35 years, employ around 2,800 people and have extraordinarily loyal Irish customers, but the last few years have been very challenging. During this time our Republic of Ireland business has been under continuous review and we have made savings and found efficiencies wherever possible. However, the retail sector outlook has not improved and we have to act now to protect the long-term good of the company."

The four stores earmarked for closure are Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Tallaght, Dublin; and M&S Simply Food stores in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin and Naas, Co Kildare. They will reopen on Thursday and trade until Saturday August 17.

M&S Ireland said a new flagship store is proposed for Limerick and will open in 2016, creating 250 new jobs, while M&S will invest in the rest of its portfolio, including a relaunch of the Grafton Street store in Dublin as an M&S regional centre.

Meanwhile DHL said its job losses are as a result of changes to the M&S supply chain. It is understood up to two thirds of the 275 permanent staff on site will be affected.

Elsewhere the Musgrave Group announced it will be changing the name of the popular Superquinn stores to SuperValu. Chris Martin, chief executive, said combining the stores from February will create an unrivalled Irish retail brand, enabling shoppers to access SuperValu's offer nationally, while incorporating the best of Superquinn.

"We understand that some customers will be sad to see the Superquinn name change," he said. "However, the decision follows a considered review of all options and is an inevitable next step given the realities of a totally changed grocery market and what the Irish consumer now needs."

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