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Buyers Close In On Debenhams Stores As Retail Giants Target Dublin

IKEA and Frasers Group are possible buyers of Debenhams Dublin

Former Debenhams Cork store

Debenhams’ former flagship premises in Dublin and Cork could come close to achieving their combined €75M asking price, as the process of confirming preferred bidders edges closer.

Two retail giants are in the frame for the Dublin store, with Ikea and Frasers Group both targeting city centre expansion across the UK and Ireland, The Irish Times reported.

Agent Cushman & Wakefield brought the properties to the market in August at guide prices of €55M and €20M for the buildings on Henry Street in Dublin and St Patrick’s Street in Cork, respectively.

The 210K SF Henry Street building spans four storeys above basement level, opposite Arnotts department store. The sale includes an existing deal with fashion retailer Zara, which occupies about 20K SF at ground- and second-floor level, plus storage on the third floor.

Frasers Group is already expanding in Dublin, with a Sports Direct outlet on North Earl Street and its premium fashion brand Flannels agreeing a deal in January to occupy half of the 60K SF retail space at the redeveloped Clerys Quarter on O’Connell Street.

Over recent years Frasers Group has opened a number of large, high-profile stores and has recently acquired the former Debenhams store in Leeds and the old Topshop in Cardiff, which will both be redeveloped as Flannels stores.

“We continue to be big believers in physical retail and our new stores are around double the size of a few years ago," Frasers Group Head Of Real Estate James France said.

"These stores give us the chance to bring all the brands together. There are no space fillers like in old-style department stores."

Ikea had previously explored buying the former Clerys department store and has opened an Ikea-anchored shopping centre in Hammersmith, London and acquired the former Topshop flagship at Oxford Circus, London as it focuses on urban expansion.

Meanwhile, the sale of Debenhams’ former Cork city store still has at least five interested parties, with both properties being sold under instruction by Grant Thornton on behalf of Bank of Ireland.