The billion-dollar football club Manchester United will open its new stand-alone flagship store in Dublin in early August, ahead of the football season. Work is under way on the threestorey 15,000 sq ft store, which will be on the corner of D'Olier Street and Westmoreland Street, facing O'Connell Bridge.
The store will be run by Manchester United's Irish business partner, Roches Stores.
The large-scale retail outlet is part of a major expansion of the retail and merchandising arm of the superclub across Britain and abroad. A similar store will open in Singapore in June.
"We have a lot of fans around the world and, in recognition of that fact, we want to satisfy their demand for knowledge and goods to touch and feel," according to Mr Peter Draper, group marketing director of Manchester United.
Manchester United, with their huge following and recent football successes, have been seen as the team of the 1990s, but Mr Draper believes the brand is much bigger than its fashionability. "This is not a dog food company, it is something a lot of people feel very passionate about. Yes, there is a heightened interest at the moment and that has brought more fans to the club, but a lot of them will stay forever. It's our job as marketeers to nurture their loyalty and respect."
Mr Draper has embraced the showbiz standing of the club. "Sport met entertainment some time ago and the media reflect that. Our thirst for knowledge about David Beckham's haircut sells newspapers and television and it's also good for Manchester United."
Mr Draper is speaking this evening at the inaugural Dot.commonsense Seminar hosted by Windmill and the Marketing Institute in Jury's Hotel in Ballsbridge in Dublin.