Pepe Jeans London has blamed “disastrous” trading and “unviable” rents for forcing the brand’s franchisee in the Republic of Ireland to close its six stores.
Pepe Jeans’ franchisee built up a portfolio of shops in Dublin, Athlone, Drogheda, Dundalk, Killdare Village and Newbridge when the country’s economy was booming a few years ago. However, the combination of the recession hitting consumer spending and high occupancy costs has proved too much for the operation.
Pepe Jeans London’s managing director Nish Soneji said that the level of rents was out of proportion with the economic situation in the Republic of Ireland.
He said: “A disastrous trading environment in the Republic of Ireland set against a backdrop of unviable rents has meant that the Pepe Jeans franchisee in the Republic of Ireland is being forced to close its six stores.
“It’s hardly surprising when you consider that the retail index there has fallen by 40%, yet most retail leases are still tied to figures which were set during the Republic of Ireland’s boom-time three years ago.”
Soneji said that the closures would not affect the brand’s wholesale business in the Republic of Ireland, and said that the UK operation was in negotiations with landlords about developing its own retail presence there, following the closures of the franchise stores.