Brown Thomas opens €12m Dundrum outlet with dress rental and intravenous vitamins

Sustainability-focused store will employ about 400 staff, including 220 new full-time roles

Donald McDonald, MD of Brown Thomas Arnotts. As well as fashion brands and beauty, the new store has departments selling fitness gear, electronics and a commuter section selling e-scooters. Photograph: Alan Betson

Brown Thomas expects to receive up to 40,000 visitors this weekend at its new department store at Dundrum Town Centre, which officially opens today. The 62,000 sq ft store, comprising two floors of the old House of Fraser outlet, has been refitted by Brown Thomas to the tune of €12 million.

The store will be used as the "launch pad" for a range of new services across the Brown Thomas group, according to Donald McDonald, the managing director of Brown Thomas Arnotts, the holding company for the two Dublin department stores.

Among the services being launched at the outlet are a Rent It! designer dress rental programme, a Full Circle scheme to swap old handbags for store vouchers, luxury goods repair and recycling, and a “five-star” concierge service where the retailer will arrange to collect high-end shoppers from their home or hotel and bring them to the store to avail of a personal shopper service.

“We will launch the new Brown Thomas concierge service here at Dundrum and we would expect to roll it out to our Grafton Street store in the next four to six weeks, and our other outlets in coming months,” said Mr McDonald.


With its rental service, a dress that might cost close to €1,000 new can be rented from the store for about €148 for four days, or €198 for eight days.

The new store will also introduce health and beauty services such as vitamin treatments administered by intravenous drip, as well as a beauty “makeover” section. The 12,000sq ft beauty hall is close to twice the size of the equivalent at Brown Thomas’s Grafton Street flagship, and includes the launch of Planet Beauty, a new concept centred around niche beauty brands.

Six times larger

As part of the deal with Dundrum, Brown Thomas has shut its 8,000sq ft BT2 outlet there, but it will retain its BT2 Blanchardstown outlet. Overall, the new Dundrum Brown Thomas outlet will have 48,000sq ft of retail floorspace, six times larger than its BT2 footprint at the centre.

As well as fashion brands and beauty, it also comprises departments selling fitness gear, electronics such as Apple, and a commuter section selling electric scooters. It will employ the top hat-wearing doorstaff familiar from its Grafton Street outlet at its front door. The store will also have another entrance direct from Dundrum’s Green car park, with up to 80 adjacent spaces.

The outlet will employ close to 400 staff, including about 220 new full-time roles. Mr McDonald said recruitment started in October and staff were trained at its other outlets over Christmas and into January.

Change hands

Brown Thomas and Arnotts will soon change hands, as part of the estimated £4 billion sale of the Selfridges group to a joint venture between the Thai luxury retail company Central Group, and Austrian property developer Signa. Mr McDonald said the incoming shareholder was fully briefed on the plans for the new Dundrum outlet and was supportive of the move.

The deal, which was announced just before Christmas, is expected to close in coming months. Mr McDonald said the transaction was “right about where we expected it to be by now”. He also confirmed that Brown Thomas Arnotts will invest further in its IT systems this year, including new apps for its two main department store brands.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times