Arnotts in line for €11m refurbishment funded by Selfridges
Investment to be pumped into IT and store upgrades, including restaurants overhaul
Beauty hall overhaul: a new “beauty hub” promoting niche cosmetics brands is to be constructed further inside the store
The store works will include a total overhaul of the beauty hall that fronts on to Henry Street, as well as new restaurant facilities.
The store, which has a turnover in excess of €75 million, will also shortly open a new toys department. It is also planning a collaboration with the Little Museum of Dublin ahead of the store’s 175th anniversary celebrations next month.
The €11 million investment is understood to come in addition to the €4 million that was made available for improvements last year by Selfridges Group, which is owned by the Irish-Canadian family of Galen and Hillary Weston.
The retailing magnates also own Brown Thomas on the southside of Dublin city centre, and are investors in the British company that owns discount fashion retailer Penneys/Primark.
It is understood the 25,000sq ft beauty and cosmetics hall, which Arnotts believes is the largest in Ireland, will absorb more than a quarter of the fresh investment. About €1.5 million was already spent on this area last year, including on its Mac, Longchamp and Coach branded sections.
It is understood that the already-completed upgrades of the area housing those three brands will be replicated across department, which for many people represents the entry point into Arnotts via the busy Henry Street precinct.
A new “beauty hub” promoting niche cosmetics brands will also be constructed further inside the store. New brands will include Huda Beauty.
The two main eateries, the a-la-carte Clodagh’s Kitchen on the upper floor and the more family oriented Handmade at Arnott’s kitchen below it, will both be upgraded, with work due to begin later this year.
In particular, Handmade at Arnotts will be totally redesigned, with the introduction of table service and by bringing the chefs’ workspace out into public view to introduce an element of “theatre” to the space.
Ahead of the front-of-house restaurant upgrades, Arnotts is also investing €1.2 million in a new behind-the-scenes central kitchen that serves its various outlets. Arnotts plans to build a new restaurant for its 1,200 staff.
The €3 million technology upgrades will be focused on its stock control and warehousing systems, as well as a new system of air conditioning. Arnotts is investing in new technology for its human resources department, including an app for staff to allow them to view their rota and swap shifts.
Much of the technology investment will be focused on further integrating its back-of-house and point-of-sale systems with its website, as part of an “omnichannel” strategy meant to link offline and online retailing activities.
The new toy department is scheduled to open in coming weeks, adjacent to the new childrenswear department that has moved to the basement. The Gap store has been shifted to facilitate the basement level overhaul.
A new lingerie department also opened in February, while Arnotts has also invested recently in its furniture department, including the addition of the West Elm brand on the top floor. It has also opened a new in-store Zebra hair salon.
“We have made considerable advancements in our refurbishment programme,” said Donald McDonald, the managing director of Arnotts.
“This latest investment will support ongoing improvements, and includes extensive system upgrades and technology advancements to support our ambition of making the Arnotts shopping experience the most engaging omni-channel experience in Ireland,” he said.
Selfridges acquired the store in 2015 from a consortium fronted by developer Noel Smyth.