Eason invests €3 million in flagship overhaul

Book company is emerging from a painful five-year restructuring

Eason’s in O’Connell Street: Eason’s has 62 stores including 26 franchised outlets. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Eason’s in O’Connell Street: Eason’s has 62 stores including 26 franchised outlets. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 
Eason

The company is emerging from a painful five-year restructuring, seeking new ways to grow its revenues.

The project will include a proposed new giftwares department on the first floor, as well as the chain’s entry into new categories such as cake decorating materials.

Own brand

The first €1 million of the capital expenditure plan has already been deployed on structural items within the store such as new lifts. Eason, which has annual sales of about €225 million, owns its flagship outlet.

The next stage of the revamp will begin once the Back to School rush dies down towards the end of September, traditionally one of its busiest times of the year. Over a period of about two months, Eason will overhaul its card and giftwares departments with a new focus on areas such as adult crafts, including cake making.

It will also introduce a new department which is known internally as “little pleasures”, although it will not be branded as such. “Little pleasures” will be a female-oriented offering with luxury gift items for women, although it will be unlikely to stray into beauty products.

The first floor revamp, part of a €10 million chain-wide capital expenditure programme, will be followed after Christmas by an overhaul of Eason’s basement shopfloor.

New concepts

Conor Whelan

This includes the introduction of new concepts such as Department 51, aimed at teenagers, and Easonology, a format themed upon kids’ creativity and education.

Eason also plans to open two new franchised stores this year.

The company recently reported sales for the year to the end of January of €225 million, down 1.1 per cent.

Part of the reduction was due to the loss of its contract at Dublin Airport.

The retailer made a net loss last year, but hopes to return to profit this year.

“Our trading environment remains challenging, but we’re very positive about the ongoing progress we are making as we continue the implementation of our strategy to grow and develop,” said Mr Whelan.