City needs to improve retail model over Argos closure, urges business leaders

City needs to improve retail model over Argos closure, urges business leaders
The Argos store on Grand Parade is set to close. The retailer has other Cork outlets in Blackpool and Mahon.

Cork Business Association has said the city needs to look at its retail model after it was announced yesterday that one of Cork’s three Argos stores is set to close this year.

The city centre store, located on Grand Parade, is due to close in November.

An Argos spokesperson confirmed the scheduled closure yesterday morning but stated there would be possible redeployment opportunities for their staff: “Our Cork Queens Arcade store will be closing in November. We will offer colleagues the opportunity to redeploy to their nearest store where possible.”

When asked by The Echo the reasons for the closure a spokesperson said it was following a regular review of their estate.

In response to a query about the future of the two other Argos stores in Cork, the spokesperson said: “Customers can continue to shop with us at our nearby stores.”

The company declined to elaborate on the number of employees affected by the closure at the Grand Parade store as negotiations were ongoing with the staff members.

“We cannot pre-empt the consultation process. Colleagues have been offered the opportunity to redeploy to nearby stores.”

CEO of the Cork Business Association Lawrence Owens said it was “very disappointing” to see a prominent retailer deciding to close, but said the important thing now was to look at the space and see what can be done to ensure the city gets another retailer into the location.

“It is disappointing, but we need to look at this from a business perspective and see what went wrong and what we can do better.

“The last thing we want is for the store to close in November and the doors to shut and to be looking at an empty building.”

Mr Owens said the site needed to be regenerated or revamped and was in need of some TLC.

“We need to offer an opportunity for another investment. Losing a big player is tough, but we need to look at the site and the future of the site. The current model hasn’t worked for Argos for whatever reason so we need to be innovative and think of something else.”

Mr Owens said it was a case of working with the other retailers to see what could be done to get another retailer in there.

“We need to be innovative and flexible. Grand Parade has seen a resurgence in recent times with the homeware store Homesense and the revamp of Centra. It has come on a lot over the past few years and we don’t want to let this slip.”

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