New chapter for Eason with plans for new Clarehall store

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Eason, the iconic Irish book retailer, has announced plans to expand with the opening of a new store in Clare Hall shopping centre.

The new store in the North Dublin shopping centre is expected to open in March. Just before Christmas, Eason opened a store in Limerick’s Cresent Centre. Combined, the Limerick and Dublin stores will create a total of 30 jobs, according to the company.

The recession was particularly painful for Eason, seeing the company go through a five year restructuring plan. The market for book retailers has been particularly turbulent in recent years but despite this, Eason has begun expansion in recent years.The new stores, along with two stores acquired and re branded last year, mean the brand now have 65 stores across Ireland, including about 10 in Northern Ireland.

The Clare Hall outlet will consist of around 4,000sq ft (371sq m) of retail space. As well as selling the Eason staples of books, magazines and stationery, it will also feature several of the new retail concepts Eason has developed in recent years.Clare Hall will include its Easonology department, which sells puzzles and brain games; Department 51 aimed at young adults and teenagers; and a gifts department.

The company said it had spent about €12 million upgrading and expanding its estate in recent years, including a major revamp of its O’Connell Street flagship in Dublin and its outlet in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Two years ago it also bought two Porters stores in Cork. The group, led by chief executive Conor Whelan, said it would continue its capital investment programme in 2017.

Eason is owned by about 230 shareholders in a public company structure, although its shares are not traded on an exchange.The company managed to get back into the black last year with a €1.2 million after-tax profit for the year to the end of last January, compared with a €2.7 million loss the previous year. Its sales rose by 9 per cent to €147.2 million.

It now employs about 1,000 staff across its stores.