- Dunnes Stores
Dunnes Stores Type Private Industry Retail (various) Founded 1944 in Cork City Founder(s) Ben Dunne Headquarters Dublin, Ireland Key people Frank Dunne
Products Groceries and textiles Employees 18,000
The chain primarily sells food, clothes and household wares. In addition to its main customer base in Ireland, the chain has operations in Great Britain and Spain. The format of the chain's stores include a grocery supermarket operating alongside a clothing/textiles store. The grocery operation only operates in Irish stores and some Northern Irish stores, although some limited grocery ranges can be found in the Spanish stores. However some stores contain only textiles, while some (more rarely) contain only a supermarket.
Many products are sold under the St. Bernard brand.
The Patrick Street store opened on the 31st March 1944, in Cork City. On opening day, such was the demand to shop at the new store, Gardaí were called to control the crowds of shoppers. The sheer pressure of the crowd forced a window in. No one was seriously injured.
Early ads for the Patrick Street store emphasised Ben Dunne's promise of 'Better Value' which was emblazoned on the side of the building.
Following on the success of Patrick Street, a second store opened on the North Main Street of Cork in 1947. This was followed by openings in Waterford, Mallow, Limerick and Wexford. The first store in Dublin opened in Henry Street in 1957. This was followed by a 'super-store' in South Great Georges Street in 1960. Advertisements boasted that this was a personal choice store with assistants behind every counter; but where the customer did not need to ask for certain items - they were on the counter where they could be easily examined. Up until this time, the whole idea in retail in Ireland was to protect the goods from the public. This concept was turned on its head with the idea that people look and buy when they see others doing so and that customers should be able to see and 'feel' the products on sale.
Grocery was introduced in the 1960s - only in a small way initially. It started with boxes of apples and oranges. Fruit was very expensive at that time and Ben Dunne gained a reputation of selling good value fruit.
By 1965 the business had grown dramatically with nine stores in Dublin. However, 95% of the business was in drapery. Ben Dunne's next venture was to change the direction of the business. In 1966 he viewed two disused factory units in the Dublin suburb of Cornelscourt and built an out-of-town shopping centre.
The Company continued to grow and the first Dunnes Stores in Northern Ireland opened in Bangor in 1971. This was followed by the acquisition of a chain of eleven grocery stores which came on the market in 1978.
The first venture outside Ireland was in Spain on the Costa del Sol and there are now five stores in the South of Spain. The company’s 11 stores in England and Scotland are textile-only stores,
Lockouts and strikes
On 12 July 2007, the company opened a new flagship textiles-only store in Henry Street, Dublin. This store is branded simply as Dunnes on external signage rather than "Dunnes Stores", as is the company's store at Citywest, opened in September 2007. On 24 October 2007 Michael Heffernan confirmed that the company would be rebranding as simply "Dunnes".
As of 2011, many stores still have the old Dunnes Stores brand, and so does advertising.
In 2007, Architect: Arthur Gibney & Partners designed a large commercial development which entailed the removal of some buildings and facade retention of several others, including the former Dunlop Factory on Stephen Street, and the Connolly Shoes building. The building has a dramatic corner atrium leading to an internal street through the development. The facade to George’s Street respects existing building heights.
The company is not publicly listed -
Dunnes' main domestic competitors in the supermarket business are Tesco Ireland, SuperValu, Superquinn and most recently Lidl and Aldi. In clothing, their rivals include Penneys, Marks and Spencer, Arnotts, and Debenhams Ireland. Dunnes concentrate more on clothes retail in the United Kingdom, meaning they do not generally compete directly with British supermarkets.
In September 2011, The Irish Independent found that Dunnes Stores is selling bra-and-knicker sets for three-to-six year old girls. Dunnes also has padded bras for girls with a 28 to 30-inch chest, which are the dimensions of nine-year-old girls.
- ^ The Irish Times 25 October 2007
- ^ Sheehan, Aideen. "Retailers selling bras for girls as young as three" The Irish Independent. Sept. 7, 2011. Retrieved Sept. 12, 2011.
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