IKEA is on the hunt for locations for new stores in the Republic, raising hopes that hundreds of jobs could be created by the Swedish retail giant.
The company confirmed in a statement that “with the success of the Ballymun store IKEA has been identifying sites around Ireland for potential stores”. However, it would not reveal any details as to which locations are being examined.
The store in Ballymun opened in July 2009 with an initial 480 staff.
Along with the Swedish firm’s store on the outskirts of Belfast it has proven a big hit with Irish shoppers.
With those two stores giving easy access to those living in the north and east of the country, it is likely IKEA will consider the southern half of the island for its next opening. A site on the outskirts of Limerick would offer the company the opportunity to attract markets from both Cork and Galway. Cork has also been mooted as a possible location, especially Mallow which would offer a crossroads to all of Munster.
IKEA recorded sales of over €15.57m in the first 36 days of operations in Dublin. The average daily footfall of more than 15,500 people in the early weeks of the operation resulted in IKEA recruiting an additional 100 temporary staff to handle customer volume.
The average daily spend was almost €450,000 according to accounts filed at the Companies Office by Ikea Ireland Ltd.
However, the opening of the Dublin store was not without its difficulties.
Planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála for the store in 2007, but a precondition was that upgrades around the Ballymun junction on the M50 would be completed first.
Meanwhile, Irish retail giant Penneys has created a further 89 jobs with the opening of a new store in High Street in Killarney.
The new positions are in addition to the 26 employees who will transfer from Penneys’ former store bringing the total number of employees to 115.
“Penneys has been in Killarney since 1978 and this investment underlines our confidence in the area and its economy,” said Paul Marchant, chief executive of Penneys/Primark.
Penneys currently operates 38 stores in Ireland.
Meanwhile, in a further boost on the jobs front, the official opening of a new headquarters for SolarPrint in Dublin has created 80 energy technology positions to add to its existing workforce of 20.
SolarPrint specialises in the development of dye sensitised solar cell (DSSC) technology, which is used to convert light to electrical energy. The company is patenting its technologies and will open its first high volume manufacturing line next year in Dublin.
It said it is looking for people with qualifications in the fields of chemistry, electrical engineering, physics and material sciences.
SolarPrint also plans to hire staff for commercial and financial roles to support its expansion plans.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved