Eason to relocate Cork store after selling premises to Mike Ashley company

Eason staff told of plans to relocate to purpose-built store in Cork city centre in 2021

Eason on Patrick Street, Cork will remain open until 2021.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Eason on Patrick Street, Cork will remain open until 2021. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Irish books and stationery retailer Eason has sold its store on Patrick Street in Cork to a company connected with Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, as part of a wider plan to relocate to a larger store in the city centre in 2021.

Ownership of the store was held by Eason Holdings, which operates the retailer’s property portfolio. Eason Retail, a related entity that operates the network of shops, had 19 years left on its lease of the Patrick Street premises.

The retail arm has negotiated an exit from the lease with the building sold to SDI (Cork) Ltd, an entity connected with Mr Ashley’s business empire.

Eason has told staff it plans to relocate the Cork shop to a purpose-built store, which is being sourced by estate agent Bannon. Staff have been informed that they will not be impacted by the transition.

Last May, Bannon quoted €6.6 million for the Patrick Street property. This move is part of a wider drive by Eason to do sale and leaseback deals on some of its major properties.

Eason opened the current 22,000sq ft store after acquiring the property from ESB in 1986. Under the terms of the transaction, the retail business will continue to operate from the premises until 2021.

Eason brand

Eason recently expanded its retail estate by adding company-owned stores in Kilkenny, Clonmel, Balbriggan, Maynooth and Arklow to its network, in addition to three franchisees in Gorey and Enniscorthy in Co Wexford and in Wexford town. In total, it has 60 stores trading under the Eason brand, with 40 owned by the company.

Liam Hanly, managing director of the Eason Group said: “The sale of the Patrick Street property provides Eason with an opportunity to move to a new fit-for-purpose premises in Cork city centre that will meet the future needs of our customers and our employees. The decision is consistent with our strategy for growth for the business and responds to changing consumer behaviours in what is a very competitive and dynamic book market.”