There has been speculation “on the street” for over a month about the imminent appointment of receivers to the Clery’’s department store on O’Connell Street and this evening RTE reports that a receiver has indeed been appointed to the company, Guiney and Company Limited, which owns the iconic department store on O’Connell Street.
RTE reports the receivers saying that the store will remain open and it “will be business as usual” but the industry has been that a receivership will allow Clery’s to give notice to the various concessions which operate in the store.
Clery’s has had a long and chequered history, including a period in which it was owned by notorious Dublin businessman William Martin Murphy. It has been in the Guiney family since 1941, survived recessions in the 1950s and 1980s but overplayed its hand in the 2000s when it got into the property development game.
It is believed that the store will now be sold to a Boston investment company called Gordon Brothers. Bank of Ireland is the main banker to Clery’s and it is likely to see a 50% writedown on its loans from the deal. Although we nominally own 15% of Bank of Ireland, we also own €1.5bn of preference shares which if converted to ordinary shares would mean the State owns Bank of Ireland. So it is you and I that lose out from this business collapse, but arguably we incurred the loss when the bottom fell out of the property market. Although Clery’s had property development loans from a NAMA Participating Institution, it is understood that the loans were never acquired by NAMA.
In addition to the receivership at Clery’s, RTE reports that liquidators have been appointed to the Guineys in Dublin city, Leopardstown and Naas which will result in the loss of 29 jobs.