Arnotts to come under Anglo control

Iconic Dublin department store Arnotts is set to come under the joint control of Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank.

State-owned Anglo has informed the EU Commission of the move, as the shop struggles to pay debts reported to be as high as €260m.

According to today's Irish Independent, none of the 950 jobs at Arnotts are currently under threat.

Retail consultant Eddie Shanahan is a former director of merchandising and marketing at Arnotts - he says it's a sad development.

"Arnotts was Arnotts," Mr Shanahan said. "It has a very clear ethos of customer service, it sat very comfortably in the upper-mid market…

"I think in recent times Arnotts had tried to become something else, and also in recent months consultants had been in there steering the ship and reviewing the situation.

"So it is no surprise… that it has come to this this morning."

In a statement, trade union Mandate said that any plans by the banks to restructure or change practices in the business must include the workers representatives. The union has over 900 members in the company.

Mandate said it is seeking an urgent meeting with management regarding the future control of the business and any possible implications this may have for staff members.

“Any difficulties which Arnotts has found itself in is a direct result of management erroneously deciding to enter the property industry and has absolutely nothing to do with the staff members or the operation of the retail business," Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said.

“Any plans to stabilize the business should take account that staff members have been a vital component in the success of the retail business, but are in no way at fault for the situation Arnotts now finds itself in.”

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