Sale of Cork store part of Eason's sale and leaseback plan

The planned c €100m roll out of sale and leaseback of retail properties by Irish bookseller Eason continues to gather pace, with the arrival of its Cork flagship store at 113-115 St Patrick’s Street for sale, guiding €6.6 million.

Eason has been in occupation and ownership at St Patrick’s Street since acquiring the building facing Debenhams and Merchants Quay Shopping Centre from the ESB in the mid 1980s, when they moved to Academy Street.

The company currently employs over 800, sells out of 60 outlets and had a turnover last year of €109 million.

Now, they are offering to sell their pivotal and long-held Cork store via agents Bannon, set to pay a new rent of €500,000 pa on a 35 year lease. At a proposed 7% yield, it equates to a price of €6.6m.

It’s part of a planned 13 property sell-off by the company, which is seeking to decouple its retail property holdings from its core selling business and future invest in its online strategy. It plans to deliver €60m back from its c €100m property sell off to its 220 shareholders, it’s been reported.

And, Cork city’s no 113-115 follows the arrival of Eason’s Galway store in 33 Shop Street, for €8 million in recent weeks, where it has been based for 30 years, and is offering to pay an annual rent there of €525,000.

It also comes as the Tralee store is being marketed for €1.23m, via agent Alexandra Patterson of Bannon (jointly with Walsh O’Sullivan), and it recently sold its warehouse in north Dublin to investment fund IPUT, for a reported €19m. The widely-flagged sale and leaseback move spanning 13 properties will include the investment offer of its iconic O’Connell Street shop in the capital – which shares a similar Eason-branded facade clock to the copper one adorning Cork’s store.

Bannon’s Alexandra Patterson describes the 22,000 sq ft property with 13,000 sq ft of retail over two floors with elevator and with dual street frontage as “a landmark building, on a prime stretch of St Patrick’s Street.”

Dating to mid 1900s, it was extensively refurbished in 2013, and is adjacent to Clarendon Properties’s Savoy Centre, currently being partially redeveloped to accomodate a larger JD Sports presence, and has 20 m frontage to the main shopping (and partially pedestrianised) street by a broad pavement and bus stops, and has 22m frontage to Drawbridge Street at nos 2-5, where there’s an Insomnia coffee shop link-up.

Ms Patterson predicts that the investment, with 7% NIY, “is likely to appeal to a range of local, national and international investors given its prime position on Patrick Street, large retail floor plates and established tenant.”

It’s offered on a FRI lease at €500,000pa, with five yearly open market rent reviews and, at the end of year ten, a break option in favour of the tenant.

Eason’s latest year profite, to Jany 2019, is expected to by about €3m, it’s indicated.

A parent company guarantee from Eason Operations Limited (EOL) will be provided for 10 years, and Bannon say this newly incorporated parent has zero borrowings, and holds €17m cash on its balance sheet plus £2.5m GBP of unencumbered property.

Details: Bannon 01-6477946

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