Arnotts in line for €11m re­vamp paid for by Sel­fridges

In­vest­ment to made in tech­nol­ogy and store up­grades, in­clud­ing the restau­rants Works will in­clude to­tal re­fur­bish­ment of beauty hall fronting on to Henry Street

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS - MARK PAUL Busi­ness Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

Sel­fridges Group is to pump €11 mil­lion into its Dublin de­part­ment store, Arnotts, to fund a re­fur­bish­ment and an up­grade of its tech­nol­ogy sys­tems.

The store works will in­clude a to­tal over­haul of the beauty hall that fronts on to Henry Street, as well as new restau­rant fa­cil­i­ties.

The store, which has a turnover in ex­cess of €75 mil­lion, will also shortly open a new toys de­part­ment. It is also plan­ning a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Lit­tle Mu­seum of Dublin ahead of the store’s 175th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions next month.

The €11 mil­lion in­vest­ment is un­der­stood to come in ad­di­tion to the €4 mil­lion that was made avail­able for im­prove­ments last year by Sel­fridges Group, which is owned by the Ir­ish-Cana­dian fam­ily of Galen and Hil­lary We­ston.

En­try point

The re­tail­ing mag­nates also own Brown Thomas on the south­side of Dublin city cen­tre, and are in­vestors in the Bri­tish com­pany that owns dis­count fash­ion re­tailer Pen­neys/Pri­mark.

It is un­der­stood the 25,000sq ft beauty and cos­met­ics hall, which Arnotts be­lieves is the largest in Ire­land, will ab­sorb more than a quar­ter of the fresh in­vest­ment. About €1.5 mil­lion was al­ready spent on this area last year, in­clud­ing on its Mac, Longchamp and Coach branded sec­tions.

It is un­der­stood that the al­ready-com­pleted up­grades of the area hous­ing those three brands will be repli­cated across de­part­ment, which for many peo­ple rep­re­sents the en­try point into Arnotts via the busy Henry Street precinct.

A new “beauty hub” pro­mot­ing niche cos­met­ics brands will also be con­structed fur­ther in­side the store. New brands will in­clude Huda Beauty.

The two main ea­ter­ies, the a-la-carte Clodagh’s Kitchen on the up­per floor and the more fam­ily ori­ented Hand­made at Arnott’s kitchen be­low it, will both be up­graded, with work due to be­gin later this year.

In par­tic­u­lar, Hand­made at Arnotts will be to­tally re­designed, with the in­tro­duc­tion of ta­ble ser­vice and by bring­ing the chefs’ workspace out into pub­lic view to in­tro­duce an el­e­ment of “the­atre” to the space.

Ahead of the front-of-house restau­rant up­grades, Arnotts is also in­vest­ing €1.2 mil­lion in a new be­hind-the-scenes cen­tral kitchen that serves its var­i­ous out­lets. Arnotts plans to build a new restau­rant for its 1,200 staff.

The €3 mil­lion tech­nol­ogy up­grades will be fo­cused on its stock control and ware­hous­ing sys­tems, as well as a new sys­tem of air con­di­tion­ing. Arnotts is in­vest­ing in new tech­nol­ogy for its hu­man re­sources de­part­ment, in­clud­ing an app for staff to al­low them to view their rota and swap shifts.

‘Omni-chan­nel’

Much of the tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ment will be fo­cused on fur­ther in­te­grat­ing its back-of -house and point-of-sale sys­tems with its web­site, as part of an “omni-chan­nel” strat­egy meant to link off­line and on­line re­tail­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

The new toy de­part­ment is sched­uled to open in com­ing weeks, ad­ja­cent to the new chil­drenswear de­part­ment that has moved to the base­ment. The Gap store has been shifted to fa­cil­i­tate the base­ment level over­haul.

A new lin­gerie de­part­ment also opened in Fe­bru­ary, while Arnotts has also in­vested re­cently in its fur­ni­ture de­part­ment, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of the West Elm brand on the top floor. It has also opened a new in-store Ze­bra hair sa­lon.

“We have made con­sid­er­able ad­vance­ments in our re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme,” said Don­ald McDon­ald, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Arnotts.

“This lat­est in­vest­ment will sup­port on­go­ing im­prove­ments, and in­cludes ex­ten­sive sys­tem up­grades and tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ments to sup­port our am­bi­tion of mak­ing the Arnotts shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence the most en­gag­ing omni-chan­nel ex­pe­ri­ence in Ire­land,” he said.

This lat­est in­vest­ment will sup­port on­go­ing im­prove­ments, and in­cludes ex­ten­sive sys­tem up­grades and tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ments

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