Kilkenny has designs on adding 10 shops to chain by 2018
Retailer signs partnership with Ebay to offer goods to a wider audience online
The company, which is run by Marian O’Gorman and her family, has just opened in the Pavilions in Swords, Co Dublin, and will shortly add an outlet at the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Irish craft and design retailer Kilkenny is planning to add 10 stores to its chain over the next five years in response to growing sales and better value rents for new outlets.
The company, which is run by Marian O’Gorman and her family, has just opened in the Pavilions in Swords, Co Dublin, and will shortly add an outlet at the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare. These have created 60 jobs to bring its total employment level to about 250.
Kilkenny is also planning to open two warehouses that will create 10 jobs while another eight retail stores are slated to open by 2018 in a move that will involve an investment of more than €1 million.
Kilkenny has also invested substantially in its flagship store on Nassau Street, opposite Trinity College in Dublin, including a €500,000 refurbishment of its first-floor restaurant. Sales in the 250-seat restaurant are up 35 per cent.
The Irish-owned retailer has been in expansion mode for the past 18 months, adding stores in Trim, Co Meath, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, and Douglas, Cork.
It has also signed an agreement with global online giant Ebay to offer its goods to a wider audience. “This partnership will allow us to reach a mass market and means Irish designs will be available to a much wider consumer audience,” Ms O’Gorman said.
Kilkenny’s like-for-like sales are up 4 per cent. It made a a profit of €520,000 on revenues of €22 million last year. It expects to generate revenues of about €25 million in the current financial year, which closes at the end of January 2014.
Its mix of business is roughly 80 per cent domestic and the balance from tourists.
After years of effectively being priced out of the market, Ms O’Gorman said expansion was now possible. “Rents are 50 per cent of what they were five years ago and the break clauses are different now, too. So there’s a lower risk involved. We couldn’t afford to expand five years ago because it was just too expensive.”