Cath Kidston for Wallis store on Grafton Street
The ladies’ fashion multiple Wallis is to close its shop on Dublin’s Grafton Street and assign its sub-lease to another UK retail chain, Cath Kidston, which specialises in floral print handbags, fabrics and homeware.
The switch in traders is likely to be welcomed on a street dominated by ladies’ fashion outlets and in need of a greater variety of businesses.
Cath Kidston has expanded rapidly over the past year, opening 33 new stores and increasing its total estate to 118.
The group has been trading exceptionally well in its first Irish store opened two years ago in Dundrum Town Centre. It also has 58 outlets in the UK and 60 across China, Hong Kong, Spain, Thailand and Korea, which have helped to propel sales past the £100 million mark for the first time.
Wallis, part of the giant Arcadia Group which operates a large retail centre on St Stephen’s Green under the Topshop label, has been looking for a replacement tenant for its Grafton Street store since December, 2009.
It was originally paying a rent of €469,500 under a sub-lease from the adjoining River Island store. With rents generally down on the street by 50 to 60 per cent since the peak, Cath Kidston is likely to have negotiated a substantially lower rent for the store near the bottom of Grafton Street which has a ground floor trading area of 160sq m (1,724sq ft) and another 135sq m (1,460sq ft) in the basement.
Towards the end of 2010, the Dublin Circuit Court reduced the rent of the Burger King fast food restaurant on the opposite side of Grafton Street by more than 50 per cent – from €436,500 to €205,250.
The River Island and Wallis buildings have fallen heavily in value since the property crash in 2008. They were originally bought as an investment by developer David Daly for €115 million in 2007.
Earlier this year, they changed hands again, selling for marginally above €40 million to the German fund manager GLL Real Estate.