Cork shopping centre in receivership


TRADING will continue as normal at the Douglas Court shopping centre in Cork, which entered receivership under KPMG yesterday.

Owned by Douglas Developments Ltd, a subsidiary of the Cork-based Shipton Group, the centre accommodates 59 units including flagship store Dunnes Stores. Joint receivers Kieran Wallace and David Swinburne of KPMG were appointed to the company yesterday by Bank of Scotland plc, following a request from the directors of Douglas Developments Ltd.

A spokesman for the centre confirmed that stores will continue to trade as normal during the process.

KMPG will examine the income and assets of the shopping centre in a bid to clear associated debts.

Traders in the centre, which include fashion, retail, food, homeware and restaurant outlets, were taken by surprise as the news circulated yesterday. Kojak’s barber shop opened at Douglas Court 15 years ago. Its owner, Aoife Cotter, said she received no official confirmation that her landlord had gone into receivership – she said she had heard the news from a neighbouring trader.

Janice McDermott, a manager at a centre outlet, received the news by text. “I only heard about it an hour ago at lunchtime. We know that some other shops were notified officially this morning but that’s all we know about it as yet,” she said.

Douglas Developments is a subsidiary of the retail management company Shipton Group, in which Clayton Love, Neill Love and Sarah Cronin are shareholders and directors. Shipton also owns the nearby Douglas Village shopping centre with flagship tenant Tesco. The Douglas Village centre remains closed following a devastating flash flood in the area 10 days ago.

Just one retail outlet is trading there, the First Plus pharmacy, which is serving customers from a temporary counter. The Douglas Village centre is likely to remain closed for a number of weeks while a major clean-up operation continues.

Shipton also operates the Blackpool shopping centre and adjacent retail park located on the northern outskirts of Cork city.

In a statement, spokesman Padraig McKeown confirmed the two other shopping centres will remain under Shipton’s control.

“All other shopping centres operated by the Shipton Group, including Douglas Village and the Blackpool shopping centres, remain under the control of the Shipton Group and are supported by Nama and its banks,” he said.

David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said the news about Douglas Court shopping centre was unfortunate and illustrated the “immense pressures” which existed in the retail industry.

“Retail Excellence Ireland will liaise with the receiver on behalf of members and their employees and ensure that their wellbeing is priority,” he said in a statement.

“We intend to meet the receiver to ensure that any rent reductions that were achieved by tenants are retained and that any vulnerable tenants and their employees are cared for,” he said.