Monday, 12 May 2008

HABITAT closes flagship Dublin store rented from CLARENDON PROPERTIES

HABITAT has closed its Dublin and Galway stores because of a "severe" deterioration in sales. The company is the first major retail casualty of the economic downturn.

The business closed at 5pm yesterday "Due to a severe downturn in sales in our Galway and Dublin stores, it has become impossible to trade through the subsequent financial difficulties, particularly in light of the current economic environment," the company said.

Habitat Ireland is operated by CONAI DESIGNS - the company owned by MALCOLM BRIGHTON'S which purchased the franchise in 2002 from the foundation looking after business interests of Ikea-founder INGVAR KAMPRAD and his family (Habitat was originally set-up by SIR TERENCE CONRAN).

The Dublin store underwent a €2.5 million refurbishment in 2005 when Habitat moved from it's original home on St. Stephen's Green - it was rented from CLARENDON PROPERTIES for €1.3 million.

Developers PADDY McKILLEN, and TONY LEONARD are behind Clarendon who paid €22 million for the former BANK of IRELAND branch. Clarendon used a company called WHITE GLORY to develop the site which stretches from College Green back to Suffolk Street.

McKillen is one of the biggest property owners in the Grafton Street area. In 1997, together with Solicitor IVOR FITZPATRICK, he bought McGONAGLE'S nightclub on South Anne Street, off Grafton Street.

Clarendon bought a number of its properties, including the POWERSCOURT TOWNHOUSE CENTRE in Dublin and the SAVOY SHOPPING CENTRE in Cork, in 1996 following the collapse of POWER CORPORATION.

McKillen owns part of the Irish franchises for WAGAMAMA, TOWER RECORDS and Japanese lifestyle retailer MUJI. He also has stakes in CHAMPION SPORTS, MARATHON SPORTS, CAPTAIN AMERICA'S on Grafton Street and the moped shop, SKOOTER. He is also said to be involved in the KERLIN GALLERY in Dublin and owns 50% of the JERVIS SHOPPING CENTRE. He bought that site in 1995 for under €6 million - it is now thought to be worth over €225 million.