Argos closing all stores in Ireland

Argos closing all stores in Ireland

The closure of any business in Ireland is a worrying day for all involved as it can lead to economic and emotional disruption. It's disheartening and concerning if a business that has been operating for close to 30 years and employs nearly 600 people comes to a closure. It has been announced by Argos that the 34 stores operating around Ireland would be closed in five months' time. Which is result in staff losing their jobs.

Today, the company did not present any candidates for an interview but issued a comprehensive statement that gave insight into why its trust in Ireland was waning. After giving it considerable thought and thoroughly examining its activity in the country, the organization arrived at this conclusion.

After careful analysis, Argos concluded that the cost of modernizing their Irish operations was too high and would be better utilized in other projects.

Established in 1996, this retail chain has been providing customers in Dublin and Limerick with quality services for more than two decades. During that time, it has managed to thrive and grow, becoming a staple of their respective cities.

The product range was quite impressive, offering something for every need - from kitchen essentials to toys, electronics, furniture and beyond. It's comprehensive enough to meet the requirements of households of all sizes.

The firm created an online catalogue which allowed customers to purchase goods for home delivery or collection at the store. With time, they even included more items that could be bought directly from the site. Shopping outlets continue to be situated in ideal spots such as city streets, shopping malls, and retail parks that lie on the outskirts of urban areas.

Large store footprints meant that rental costs were usually high as they needed quite a bit of storage space, and in a lot of cases, these rent agreements had no upper limit.

Why is Argos closing its stores in Ireland?

The online market is now just as important as physical stores, so competition is fierce. This poses a significant challenge for Argos, given its diverse range of products. Argos in the UK has partnered with Sainsbury's and now has 800 stores located in a fifth of its 1,000 outlets. This change is a testament to Argos' ability to adapt quickly to the changing times.

There are 422 shops in a Sainsbury's outlet, and more than 400 other Sainsbury's have Argos Click and Collect counters. The tactic employed has been successful and Argos states operations in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales have been doing well. It has been reported that a series of recent happenings have likely made the challenges worse.

Companies such as Argos were hugely impacted by Brexit, as it posed severe issues with their supply chains. Bringing in goods from the UK had become difficult and caused headaches for these companies.

The pandemic put a huge strain on retailers for the majority of two years, causing immense damage to their businesses.

The recent cost inflation and increasing interest rates have drastically altered the business landscape. Costs of operation have gone up significantly while at the same time, demand has been suppressed.

Argos was faced with a difficult decision to make.

Despite a long history of running their business, they struggled to achieve success and reported a pre-tax loss of €13m last year. To move forward, they must put in a significant effort and financial investment to modernize the Irish network. Or shutting down some or all of it permanently.

Unfortunately, the parent company ultimately chose the last option, leaving long-time staff members in a difficult situation. It has been clear for a while that something wasn't quite right and now the full effect is being felt.

In the past two years, the business had shut down a few stores and signalled it would be closing even more in the future.

Despite that, Mandate Trade Union declared that they were taken aback by the magnitude of today's announcement.

By the 24th of June, all stores will be shut down, ultimately bringing an end to a beloved icon in Irish retail. Many have cherished it and will miss its presence.

Photo credits: The Argos Extra store at Mahon Point Retail Park, one of two Cork Argos stores. Picture: Larry Cummins