The future of historic Dublin department store Arnotts has been thrown into question following its takeover by Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank.
The state-owned institutions have closed in on the store because of its problems in paying off over €250m of borrowings. The move has still to be approved by the European Commission.
Arnotts, which has been trading in Dublin for 167 years, found itself in trouble owing to the failure of its Northern Quarter property development. However, it says that its department store business is currently strong and that its 950 employees need have no fear for their jobs.
In a statement it said: “Arnotts Holdings Ltd confirms that it is working with its banks (Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank) as part of the ongoing process agreed last February to restructure the group’s financing.
“Arnotts is performing very strongly with trading for the first half of the year ahead of the Irish retail market. Jobs within Arnotts remain secure and Arnotts continues to invest in the future of the store. We would like to reassure our customers that it is business as usual at Arnotts.”
Nevertheless, it is thought likely that once the banks have recovered their money the store will be put up for sale, and employees are reported to be very concerned for their future.