Timeline: In business 172 years on Dublin’s Henry Street
Arnotts joins Brown Thomas as member of portfolio of stores owned by Galen Weston
Break time: A shopper off her feet in the furniture department. Photograph: The Irish Times
1843 – The store that is now Arnotts opens for business at 14 Henry Street having been set up by George Cannock and Andrew White. 1845 – Bankers Andrew and Patrick Reid loan them £6,000 to extend the business into 13 Henry Street. 1848 – After White’s death that year, the Reids were joined by a successful Scottish entrepreneur named Sir John Arnott, who also invested £6,000 in the business.
When Cannock departed the company in 1865 the Reids allowed Arnott, a former British MP, three-time mayor of Cork and a former owner of The Irish Times, to give his name to the company. 1875 – Arnott & Co is floated as a public limited company (plc).
1894 - The store is completely destroyed by fire. Trade is only briefly interrupted with Arnotts quickly rebuilt.
1916 - Legend has it that Patrick Pearse stopped off to settle his account in the shop on the day of the Easter Rising in 1916. O’Connell Street was destroyed and the Rising was fought just a stone’s throw away at the GPO but Arnotts escapes with little structural damage.
1945 - The end of the second World War in Europe brought with it an outbreak of euphoria. Arnotts reacted to the increased demand from consumers by adding new departments such as the Beauty Shop, novelties and separates. 1961 - Arnotts completes the acquisition of a majority stake in rival retailer Boyers on North Earl Street. 1966 - It purchases West’s jewellers on Grafton Street for £120,000 plus fees. This branch opened in May to a near riot.
1991 - Begins trading in the Stillorgan Shopping Centre, the only Arnotts outlet outside Dublin city centre.
1993 - Arnotts celebrates its 150th anniversary with significant redevelopment of its Henry Street premises and the construction of an octagonal dome, which fills the floors below with light.
2003 - Arnotts plc is privatised with barrister Richard Nesbitt and members of his family taking control of the business. It begins acquiring neighbouring properties for the proposed Northern Quarter development.
2006 - Nesbitt unveils plans for the Northern Quarter, a €750 million commercial development covering a site of 5.5 acres around Arnotts. The Arnotts building is to be demolished with the retailer to relocate to a smaller unit in the nearby Jervis Centre while the new store is constructed.
2007 - Sells its interest in the Grafton Street store, which had been rented to other retailers for a number of years. 2008 - An Bord Pleanála approves the Northern Quarter plan with certain amendments, but the plan is shelved following the banking and property crash later that year.
2009 - Ends its 18-year sponsorship of the Dublin GAA football and hurling teams and trades on St Stephen’s Day for the first time.
2010 - Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank take control of the business and later scrap the Northern Quarter plan. Boston-based Palladin Capital appointed to manage the business for the banks with ex-Brown Thomas executive Nigel Blow appointed as CEO.
2011 - Closes its shoe shop in the Stillorgan Shopping Centre.
2013 - Palladin’s involvement with Arnotts ends. Blow becomes chairman, with Ray Hernan appointed as CEO. Ulster Bank sells its loans to Noel Smyth’s Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and Galen Weston’s Wittingdon Investments Ltd, while US investment group Apollo acquires loans held by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
2015 - Apollo agrees to sell its interest in Arnotts to Fitzwilliam Finance Partners and Wittingdon, who then get the nod in August from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to acquire Arnotts and adjoining properties
Selfridges takes control of the country’s oldest and largest department store and Arnotts joins its southside rival Brown Thomas as a member of a portfolio of high-end retail stores owned by Weston and his family.