Marks & Spencer is to axe 180 employees following the announcement of four store closures in the Republic of Ireland within the month.
The retail giant announced the decision after a strategic store review in Ireland and within weeks will close sites in Mullingar in Co Westmeath, Tallaght in Dublin, Dun Laoghaire in Dublin and Naas in Co Kildare according to The Irish Examiner.
Jonathan Glenister, head of M&S Ireland, insisted the chain remains fully committed to its Irish business and 17 other shops nationwide. He said: “We have traded here for the last 35 years, employ around 2,800 people and have extraordinarily loyal Irish customers, but the last few years have been very challenging. During this time our Republic of Ireland business has been under continuous review and we have made savings and found efficiencies wherever possible.”
He added: “However, the retail sector outlook has not improved and we have to act now to protect the long-term good of the company. We have carried out a strategic store review and it is with regret that we are now closing four unprofitable stores.”
The four stores earmarked, which include two food-only shops, did not open today as news was broken to staff this morning. They will reopen tomorrow and trade until Saturday August 17.
A new flagship store is proposed for Limerick and will open in 2016, creating 250 new jobs, while M&S will invest in the rest of its portfolio, including a relaunch of the Grafton Street store in Dublin as an M&S regional centre.
M&S said it will also be updating a number of existing stores across Ireland.