Spanish fashion retail giant Mango has inked a deal to open a new store in Cork City in what is being hailed as a major boost for the main street.
The deal will see the Barcelona-headquartered global chain make a welcome return to Cork 15 years after it quit the city in a failed franchise operation.
This time around, the trendy, affordable clothes store will be company-run.
The deal is good news for shoppers and for the profile of St Patrick’s Street as the new store will operate out of Nos 106-108, the former Quills outlet, which has been vacant since 2014.
Quills was bought by Clarendon Properties, owners of the adjoining Savoy shopping mall, for €2m in 2015.
Lia Dennehy of Savills who brokered the deal on behalf of Clarendon Properties said Mango has signed a 10-year lease, with fit-out due to start immediately. The terms include a five-year break clause, with Mango to pay a penalty if they exit.
Ms Dennehy said they were “delighted to have agreed this letting to Mango”.
“106-108 is one of the most prominent pitches on Patrick Street and we are sure that Mango will benefit from the high footfall and passing trade that the location enjoys,” Ms Dennehy said.
Ms Dennehy and colleague Daire Brennan have also secured a new tenant for No 79 St Patrick’s Street, a former Carphone Warehouse store. Seasons of Ireland, a gift shop outfit who also have a store on Dublin’s Grafton Street, have signed a 10-year lease with no break clause, with stepped rent over the first five years, starting at €80,000pa and increasing to €100,000. Carphone Warehouse closed all of its Irish stores in 2021.
The news that Mango is back is a welcome fillip for main street which badly suffered during the pandemic, with a recent Lisney report showing that one in five units on St Patrick's Street was vacant at the end of 2022. The most high profile vacancy is flagship store Debenhams (formerly Roches Stores) which closed in April 2020. The c150,000 sq ft premises is currently up for sale for €20m.
Mango will occupy 5,500 sq ft of retail space at Nos 106-108, including a 4,400 sq ft ground floor and a c1,100 sq ft mezzanine storage area.
The reconfiguration of the premises, to absorb a juice bar, barber's shop and travel agency in the adjoining Savoy shopping mall, helped seal the deal with the fashion retailer.
JD Sports occupies much of the remaining ground floor space after planning was granted in 2018 to merge the former A Wear unit fronting onto St Patrick's Street with the sports shop to the rear of the shopping mall to form one large JD Sports retail outlet.
Another smaller unit at the front of the mall, No 109 St Patrick's Street, is vacant after 3 Mobile moved to a neighbouring premises. The 65 sq m (700 sq ft) unit is currently up for lease with Ms Dennehy with quotable rent of €100,000 pa.
Ms Dennehy said the location for this unit is “a superb pitch, directly across from Brown Thomas, and adjacent to the new Mango store”.
The streetscape in this section of the city is set to improve too as planning is in place to upgrade the new Mango shopfront while luxury men's fashion brand Flannels is set to upgrade the former Eason premises at 113-115 St Patrick's Street.
Flannels is one of several brands owned by the Mike Ashley-owned Fraser Group, formerly Sports Direct International. Flannels is due to open on St Patrick's Street by Easter.
The positive momentum in relation to main street has been ongoing for the past number of months with the arrival of new stores and investor activity. Last month, a Swiss investor bought Holland and Barrett at 43/44 St Patrick's Street for €2.6m.
New store arrivals include outdoor wear specialists The North Face at No 39, which opened last October and upmarket UK footwear brand Dune in the same block, also shared by relocated Eason, which is operating out of the expertly-renovated ground floor of the former Victoria Hotel.
Ms Dennehy said the arrival of Mango would be "a good addition to the street". As a high profile international brand, it could encourage other international brands to follow suit, she said.
The difficulty was finding something to match their requirements but there was no doubting that "sentiment is positive", she said, adding that "deals are going through, although it is definitely a tenant's market".
Another Savills/Bannon Commercial property currently attracting interest is No 101 St Patrick's Street, the former Dorothy Perkins/Evans store, a four-storey premises with an annual rent of €225,000pa. The 6,600 sq ft building has been empty since 2019, following the collapse of Philip Green’s Arcadia group. A number of international brands are understood to be looking at it.
Separately, fast fashion retailer Penney is still awaiting a decision from An Bord Pleanála in relation to its expansion plans. Penney owns an entire block on main street and is planning to increase its retail space by 17,000 sq ft to 54,000 sq ft.
The planning application was appealed to An Bord Pleanála with a decision due last October but this has been delayed as the scandal-hit appeals board struggles with a lengthy caseload. A spokesperson for the board said yesterday the case was at the "closing stages" but there is "a significant backlog that is affecting the disposal of cases in general. It is likely that there are weeks left in the processing of this one".
More info on Unit 109 St Patrick’s Street: Lia Dennehy, Savills, 021 4906122 or email@example.com