Jysk, a Danish furniture retailer that plans to open up to 40 Irish stores, says its expansion plans here are being hampered because it takes it four times longer to open a new store in the Republic than elsewhere in Europe.
Jysk, which has 2,800 stores internationally and group sales of €3.6 billion, entered the Irish market in April with a store in Naas, Co Kildare. It originally planned to open 15 Irish stores, but the company has since increased that target to about 40 stores over the next three to five years, due to the success of its opening.
Poul-Erik Larsen, Jysk’s expansion director, said the Naas store opening was “among our top five best openings in our last financial year”, when Jysk opened about 105 new stores across its network. It now operates four Irish outlets.
“Our plan now in Ireland is to open as fast as possible. We would open new stores one per month if we can find the sites,” he said.
He complained, however, that while in other European expansion markets, Jysk can find a store and sign a lease in up to four weeks, in Ireland “it takes anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks”.
“The legal aspect of a new store takes far longer in the Irish market. The negotiations for the lease and the time it takes to get the necessary permits and approvals – that all takes a lot longer here,” he said.
Dublin ‘more difficult’
Its four Irish stores opened to date are in Naas, Drogheda, Navan and Portlaoise, with others planned over coming months for Sligo, Waterford, Cork and Limerick. The company has yet, however, to find any acceptable sites in Dublin. Success in the capital will be crucial to Jysk’s Irish plans.
“Dublin is more difficult and more expensive,” he said. “Rents here are higher than in other markets in which we operate. But the real cost difference is in fitting out a site. Your [building] regulations make it more expensive,” he said.
Jysk’s range includes flatpack furniture with simple styles. Mr Larsen said the trail blazed by other Scandinavian furniture and home retailers in the Irish market, such as Ikea and Sostrene Grene, meant Irish consumers were already familiar with Scandinavian designs.
“Irish and Scandinavians are more alike than we think,” he said.
The company is holding an open day for potential landlords in the Red Cow hotel on September 16th, as it looks to ramp up its Irish expansion plan.