Penneys bound for Bray, and rural Ireland faces new broadband delay

Seen & Heard: Hospitality fit-outs, Quinlan bankruptcy case and Keogh’s crisp profits

A Penneys employee prepares the shopfront of its Mary Street store ahead of the May reopening. Photograph: Tom Honan

A Penneys employee prepares the shopfront of its Mary Street store ahead of the May reopening. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Penneys will take a unit at Bray Central, a new shopping centre being built off the town’s main street by Paddy McKillen jr’s Oakmount, the Sunday Times reports. The fast-fashion retailer is likely to occupy one of the centre’s three anchor units, it says.

The three-storey Bray Central development will comprise 270,000sq ft of mixed-use space, with 12 retail units, a bowling alley, cinema and restaurant space. Other confirmed occupants include the Stella cinema, Wowburger and Elephant & Castle, all outlets run by McKillen jr’s hospitality company Press Up.

NBP delay

The National Broadband Plan is falling short of its targets despite recent assurance that the rollout of high-speed broadband was running on schedule, the Business Post reports.

Only 4,000 homes and businesses have been reached in the first half of this year, out of a target of 115,000 by the end of the year. National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company that was awarded the €3 billion contract, has now cut its target for this year in half to pass 50,000-60,000 premises.

The reduced target is a significant blow to rural communities, the newspaper says.

Fit-out boom

Interiors construction company Pure Fitout has secured €35 million worth of orders for the next 12 months as the hospitality sector looks to bounce back from the extended period of pandemic-related closures, according to the Sunday Independent.

The Belfast company, which has an office in Dublin, is working on a number of fit-out contracts for operators including Five Guys in Liffey Valley and Press Up on North Wall Quay.

“It was at a complete standstill for so long but now people are busting to get the projects and more,” Pure managing director Ronan Higham told the newspaper.

GPO charge

An Post has written down the value of Dublin’s historic GPO to zero, suggesting the building’s future is uncertain once the company moves its headquarters to the new Exo office block in the city’s docklands this year, reports the Sunday Times.

An €8.4 million exceptional charge for the GPO contributed to An Post recording losses in 2020 of €32 million before tax. An Post said the GPO “remains largely vacant” as staff work from home due to the pandemic and is “unlikely to be reoccupied” as restrictions are lifted.

Quinlan bankruptcy

Property investor Derek Quinlan’s UK bankruptcy court date has been delayed following an application by Edgeworth Capital, the fund owned by billionaire Robert Tchenguiz, the Sunday Independent reports.

Edgeworth applied to secure documents from Gerard Murphy, a long-time associate of Mr Quinlan’s, and Owen Kelly. It said the documents were in the control of Mr Quinlan and should be disclosed by him.

A hearing to “address and determine” issues, such as a relisting of the trial and outstanding applications in relation to disclosure, is set for June 16th.

Crisp profits

Accumulated profits at Keogh’s Crisps rose to €1.2 million before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, according to the Business Post, citing accounts recently filed to the Companies Office. The company’s directors said the brand had performed strongly through the lockdowns.

In the year to the end of March 2020, the company made a profit of about €99,500, an improvement on a modest loss in the previous 12 months.

The amount of cash in the company, set up in 2011 by the Keogh farming family in north Dublin, nearly doubled to €853,777.