Moving the bus stops was a 'killer' for Clerys
THIS WEEK’S fire sale of Clerys to Boston-based private equity group Gordon Brothers brought an end to 71 years of ownership by members of Denis Guiney’s family.
Clontarf entrepreneur John Teeling tried to buy the business in 1996, when the then 96-year-old Mary Guiney was still calling the shots.
“I saw it as iconic but very badly managed,” Teeling told me this week. “It didn’t have bank debt at the time but it needed to be refurbished.”
Teeling planned to put a bookshop on the ground floor and to put in a number of concessions.
“We also wanted to re-open the third floor and put a disco in there or some other night time venue. More people visit that part of the street at night time than during the day.”
Teeling offered £18 million (€22.8 million) for Clerys but was knocked back by Guiney.
The entrepreneur, who made a tidy windfall from the sale of Cooley Distillery to Beam last year, has his own interesting take on where it went wrong for the O’Connell Street store in more recent times.
“They moved the bus stops,” he said. “Women used to come out of the shops weighed down by bags and they could just get on the bus. But they moved them away to either end of the street. It was a killer.
“The clock is still there but the bus stops are gone.”