Wave of shop closures on Pana: Cork city leaders call for resilience 

Wave of shop closures on Pana: Cork city leaders call for resilience 

Today it came to light that Monsoon and Accessorize on Patrick Street are set to close permanently, leaving another two units vacant on Patrick Street. Picture: Larry Cummins

Today it came to light that Monsoon and Accessorize on Patrick Street are set to close permanently, leaving another two units vacant on Patrick Street.

The closure of Monsoon and Accessorize follows a slew of retail businesses pulling out of the city centre.

Patrick Street alone has seen the closure of Debenhams, Vila/SELECTED, Mountain Warehouse and Hairspray with Eason set to relocate next year.

The Oasis store on Cork’s main street is currently holding an everything-must-go liquidation sale before it too will close. Picture: Larry Cummins.
The Oasis store on Cork’s main street is currently holding an everything-must-go liquidation sale before it too will close. Picture: Larry Cummins.

The Oasis store on Cork’s main street is currently holding an everything-must-go liquidation sale before it too will close.

Despite this, Managing Director of Fitzgerald Menswear on Patrick Street, Eddie Mullins, has said he believes retail in Cork city centre can bounce back.

"The harsh truth is that Ireland has too many shops per head of population. 

"The Celtic Tiger saw a huge influx of international companies some of whom arrived without a real understanding of the Irish market. 

"Some adapted and thrived while others were like rabbits caught in headlights like Debenhams. 

"They often presumed that they could do business while neglecting the basics," he said.

"It's very sad to see any shop closing and jobs being lost but the truth is they will be replaced by new retailers as has always been the way.

"If you look at an old picture of Cork city from the 50s or 60s there is probably only a handful of businesses that remain.

Debenhams, Patrick Street.Picture: Larry Cummins
Debenhams, Patrick Street.Picture: Larry Cummins

"Covid-19 has merely hastened the demise of some retailers but the future is bright," Mr Mullins continued. 

Mr Mullins added that he believes the proposed retail outlet centre near Carrigtwohill could have a detrimental effect on the city centre.

"We will see new businesses emerge and thrive in the months and years to come. 

"However, councils need to respect, protect and fight for city centres especially when the threat comes from county councils. 

"Case in point being the proposed outlet village in East Cork. 

"We have enough capacity within our cities to accommodate new retailers. 

"Let's not dissolve our retail offer but concentrate it within our amazing city centre.

Accessorize, Patrick Street. Picture: Larry Cummins
Accessorize, Patrick Street. Picture: Larry Cummins

"Night is always darkest before the dawn," he said.

Cork Business Association's Chief Executive, Lawrence Owens has said it will be a "slow process" for Cork city to rebuild itself following the impact of Covid-19 and the closure of a number of high profile business, but he also stressed that the city has been "resilient over the years".

"The recent closures are extremely regrettable but rather than bemoan the situation we now need to take a long and hard look at how we can incentivise businesses to open in Cork," he said. 

Hairspray, Patrick Street.Picture: Larry Cummins
Hairspray, Patrick Street.Picture: Larry Cummins

"We [Cork] have so much going for us, when you look at all the developments currently going on and even in the few days many businesses in the city centre have reopened after being closed for months the early stats are positive. 

"The city has been busy and people have been respectful of social distancing and patient with businesses, which is encouraging." 

Meanwhile, Solidarity TD Mick Barry has called for Government intervention to prevent a "jobs massacre" in the retail industry. 

"Thousands of jobs have already been axed in retail and tens of thousands of others hang in the balance. 

"Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens are negotiating a Programme for Government and they must include plans for State intervention to save jobs in retail. 

"Nationalizing shops is something that might have sounded fanciful before Covid-19 but it is the kind of bold move that needs to be made now in order to prevent a jobs massacre in the retail industry," he said. 

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