UK retailer Joules on its way to Center Parcs in Longford

Holiday park is gearing up for busy summer season, and says it is seeing ‘strong bookings’

 Center Parcs at Longford Forest. The Co Longford site has been hit by rolling lockdowns throughout the past 12 months, but is hoping to reopen later this year. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Center Parcs at Longford Forest. The Co Longford site has been hit by rolling lockdowns throughout the past 12 months, but is hoping to reopen later this year. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

 

Longford-based holiday resort Center Parcs is gearing up for a busy summer season as it readies plans to bring a new retail element to the location with the opening of UK retailer Joules on site.

The retailer, known for its spotted wellies and wide range of Breton tops, previously traded from Wicklow Street in Dublin’s city centre, before closing this outlet early in 2020, ahead of the pandemic. It also has an outlet in Kildare Village.

A spokesman for the brand said the link-up with Center Parcs, which also extends to five further sites in the UK, is a partnership between “two outdoor loving, family-focused lifestyle brands”.

The Co Longford site, like other tourist attractions, has been hit by rolling lockdowns throughout the past 12 months, but is looking to reopen later this year.

Given the current restrictions, a spokesman said there was no opening date yet for Joules at Longford Forest.

The site is currently recruiting staff for its retail outlets, however, which consist of two own-brand and four concession units.

The holiday park, which opened in 2019, has been badly hit by the pandemic. Recent company accounts indicate that about 92 per cent of its staff have been furloughed on the State’s wage subsidy scheme, while it reported a pre-tax loss of some €15.3 million in the 12 months to April 23rd, 2020.

While Center Parc’s UK villages are due to open from April 12th, there is as of yet no sign of a return for the tourism sector in Ireland.

“We are awaiting further information from Government regarding a reopening date, but clearly this can’t happen until restrictions are lifted,” a spokesman said.

It is nonetheless expecting a busy summer season provided it gets the green light to open. “We are seeing very strong bookings for the summer as well as later in the year,” the spokesman said.