Dublin department store Clerys sold for an undisclosed sum

One of Europe’s oldest stores acquired by Natrium

Shoppers leave Clerys department store in O’Connell Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Shoppers leave Clerys department store in O’Connell Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Clerys department store on O’Connell Street in Dublin has been sold by Gordon Brothers for an undisclosed sum to Natrium, it was confirmed on Friday.

Boston-based private equity group Gordon Brothers acquired the department store after it went into receivership through a subsidiary called OCS Investment Holdings in 2012. Gordon is believed to have paid about €15 million to acquire the retailer’s €26 million debts from Bank of Ireland.

Natrium is a joint venture between D2 Private and discretionary funds managed by Cheyne Capital Management. The real estate vehicle was only registered in May 2015. It has three listed directors - John Skelly, Deirdre Christina Foley and Ronan Stephen Daly, all of whom have Dublin addresses .

Ms Foley co-founded D2 Private with developer David Arnold. Many of its Irish investment properties ended up in Nama where they were sold at substantial losses. The company’s most recent accounts show it made a pre-tax loss of €467,409.

One of Europe’s oldest purpose-built department stores, Clerys opened in 1853, albeit under a different name. It had survived two world wars, a civil war and many recessions but debts relating to the Celtic Tiger property bubble almost brought its closure in the 2000s. Clerys lost €2 million in the year to the end of January 2011 before going into receivership.

The department store was forced to close for four months and temporarily lay off 86 employees in 2013 after a flash flood caused millions of euro of damage. This wasn’t the first time the store faced disaster as the original Clerys building was almost completely destroyed during the 1916 Rising. The store moved into a warehouse on Lower Abbey Street for six years until the building was repaired and reopened in 1922.