Dunnes Stores ramps up rollout of smaller suburban shops

Grocery giant sets up shop at Magic Carpet as plan for Monkstown village raises ire of some locals

New Dunnes Stores shop on site of former Magic Carpet pub in Cornelscourt: The new shop is a couple of hundred metres from its flagship Cornelscourt centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

New Dunnes Stores shop on site of former Magic Carpet pub in Cornelscourt: The new shop is a couple of hundred metres from its flagship Cornelscourt centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Irish grocery giant Dunnes Stores continues to roll out smaller suburban shops in the Dublin area – some more welcome than others.

In Cornelscourt, south Dublin, the grocer has opened a new convenience shop at The Magic Carpet, a couple of hundred metres down the road from its flagship Cornelscourt centre, one of the busiest – and possibly one of the most lucrative – Dunnes Stores outlets. The new store is also not too far from Newtownpark Avenue, where it opened a similar smaller store in the former Playwright pub back in 2018.

Dunnes Stores is believed to have paid about €9 million for the Magic Carpet site, which had been on the market for about € 12 million, and which sits on 2.7 acres. It has obvious development potential for a residential, commercial or mixed-use scheme and is zoned part-residential and part-neighbourhood centre under the local development plan.

For now however, Dunnes seems happy to run the outlet as a convenience-type shop.

Opening a second shop so close to the larger Cornelscourt flagship might surprise, but market sources suggest it could be a blocking strategy against the arrival of a competing supermarket so close to its prized larger Cornelscourt outlet.

German discounters Aldi and Lidl are currently in the throes of an extensive expansion strategy, with the former looking to open a further 30 Irish stores across the country and the latter eyeing 20 new Irish stores. Given the location, and its proximity to upmarket suburbs such as Foxrock, Aramark’s Avoca could also have been a contender for the site.

Monkstown offering

Dunnes Stores, which has increasingly moved its offering more upmarket through concessions such as James Whelan Butchers as well as Sheridans Cheese, may yet get a chance to see how it can compete against Avoca however, as it vies to open cheek by jowl with it in Monkstown.

The grocer is looking to redevelop the Diarmuid Gavin-led gardening shop and cafe it opened only earlier this year, The Outer Spaces, in the south Dublin suburb.

It has applied for planning permission to redevelop and expand the space, with a view to opening a shop with about 400sq m of retail floor space at ground level, including an off-licence and cafe with outdoor seating. The development will also involve the creation of an outdoor terraced seating area on the first floor.

The property, at 14a/15a Monkstown Crescent, is adjacent to Avoca – right beside its outdoor cafe area in fact – and was put on the market by Colliers last year quoting €1.5 million.

Objecting residents

Thus far, the proposal has received significant objections from local residents, with some arguing that it constitutes over-development, and others fearing the noise and impact on parking the arrival of such a supermarket – albeit a relatively small one – might have.

Submissions to the planners from local residents argue that Monkstown “is not the place for a very large retailer such as Dunnes Stores to locate”.

A potential impact on property values is also of concern, as one worried resident notes: “The development would cause significant damage and loss of value to local residential properties.”

Residents have also objected to the arrival of another off-licence, with one noting that “the village does not need another cafe or another off-licence”, while another bemoaned the trend of outdoor drinking in the area, noting that the village was becoming the “the Irish equivalent of Ibiza”.

As another wrote, “The last thing Monkstown needs is more alcohol.”