Argos working to minimise job losses after closure of Cork store

Argos working to minimise job losses after closure of Cork store

Argos says that it is working to minimise the job losses associated with the closure of its store in Cork city centre.

The UK retailer confirmed that its premises in the Queens Old Castle on Cork's Grand Parade will shut in November, just before the Christmas shopping season. It has traded in the building for more than 20 years.

A spokesperson for the company, which is owned by Sainsbury's in the UK, declined to confirm the number of people working in the store but said that it will offer staff the chance to be redeployed to their nearby branches in Blackpool and Mahon.

The spokesperson did not elaborate on the reasons for the closure but said that Argos "regularly review our estate".

"Our Cork Queens Arcade store will be closing in November. We will offer colleagues the opportunity to redeploy to their nearest store where possible," a spokesperson for the company said.

Argos was bought by Sainsbury's in a deal worth €1.4 billion in 2016.

It was reported in January of this year that poor sales at Argos had dragged down its parent company's trading in 2018.

Argos's struggles reflected those of other high street stores in the UK, where Debenhams, Mothercare and Marks & Spencers are also reporting difficulties.

Lawrence Owens, CEO of the Cork Business Association, described the news as "very disappointing" for retail in Cork city.

"Argos has a long tradition of trading in Cork - they have been at the Queens Old Castle for 20 years," he said.

"The most worrying element of this, of course, is for the employees whose jobs are affected.

Hopefully, any losses can be kept to a minimum and there can be some element of redeployment to other stores. Even one loss is too many."

Mr Owens said that the departure of Argos from the site could be "a catalyst" for activity in that part of the city.

"It could regenerate the entire area," he said.

"You already have long-standing businesses like Finn's Corner and O'Leary's Centra, which are huge successes, there, and then Cornmarket Street is just around the corner and has a really strong hospitality offering.

"Out of adversity comes opportunity: hopefully there will be a rejuvenation from this in the longer term. It is too critical a site for it to lie idle longer term."

The historic Queens Old Castle survived the Black and Tans’ burning of Cork in 1920 and was once a Penneys. It was converted to a shopping centre in the late 1970s, with 37 different shops and restaurants occupying space in the building.

It ran into economic difficulties in the 1980s and closed its doors.

Clarendon Properties bought the site 1996. It was remodelled and reopened on December 4, 1997, by footballer Roy Keane, with two tenants: Argos and Virgin Megastore.

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