The Mayor of Clonmel/Cahir Borough District has offered his services to frozen foods retailer Iceland in its efforts to find alternative accommodation for its Clonmel store, which is to close on Saturday with the loss of 12 jobs.
Cllr Martin Lonergan said his office was open to provide any help or assistance he can in sourcing another site for the Iceland store, which is currently based at the Showgrounds Shopping Centre on the Davis Road.
The English supermarket chain announced last week that it was shutting its Clonmel store on August 2 because it has not been successful in reaching an agreement with the Showgrounds Shopping Centre landlord over the lease assignment of the store.
“We have therefore had to make the decision to close the store,” the company said in a statement issued to The Nationalist.
However, the statement added that Iceland was “committed to the development of its Irish business and will look at re-opening in Clonmel should the right site become available.”
The company said it would “look at opportunities to redeploy Clonmel staff to other Iceland stores where possible, and re-hire again in Clonmel if and when it finds a suitable site.”
Cllr Lonergan, the recently elected Mayor of Clonmel/Cahir Borough District, has expressed regret at the impending closure of the Iceland store and said the loss of jobs to the community was a blow.
But he regarded Iceland’s commitment to redeploy staff and find alternative retail space in Clonmel to re-open the store as a source of hope.
“I call on the company to begin this process immediately and, if their commitment is concrete, would hope that the loss of any jobs can be prevented. My office is open to provide any help or assistance that I can.”
Hot on the heels of Iceland’s announced closure came the news last week that the Showgrounds Shopping Centre is one of three Irish shopping centres in NAMA to be sold to US investment firm Varde.
It’s believed the company has agreed terms to purchase the Showgrounds along with Blackpool Shopping Centre in Cork and Millford Shopping Centre in Balbriggan in Dublin for a combined total of €170m - €40m more than originally expected. The three centres first hit the market with a guide price of €130m.
It is the first group of shopping malls that NAMA has sold.
The Showgrounds, with Marks & Spencers as its anchor tenant, was the only shopping centre in the Republic to open in 2009 when the recession was at its worst.