Athlone jobs safe as B&Q exits examinership

Some 45 jobs are officially secure at the Athlone B&Q store as the company successfully exited examinership this week.

Over 600 jobs were saved across the country as the High Court approved the examiner’s recommendations for B&Q Ireland, one of the country’s largest home improvement retailers.

Under the scheme, which sees more than €2.4 million in fresh investment by parent company Kingfisher plc, B&Q will continue to trade at eight stores countrywide, including the Athlone store at Arcadia Retail Park, retaining a total of 640 jobs.

B&Q Ireland sought the appointment of an examiner on January 31 this year, in a bid to rescue the business which was significantly loss-making. The Athlone store was originally under threat, as it was singled out as one of the company’s “uneconomic stores” earmarked for closure by interim examiner Declan McDonald of PWC.

In early April B&Q announced that the Athlone store would remain open after a deal was made to secure improved lease terms. However, the group’s rescue plan involved the closure of its Waterford store, which ceased trading on May 4 with the loss of 47 jobs.

Welcoming the successful restructuring, chairman of B&Q Ireland, Brian Mooney, paid tribute to staff who, he said, have maintained standards and service throughout a challenging period.

“B&Q Ireland employees have had a challenging three months, and so today’s encouraging plan is a great relief. There is huge regret that the Waterford store was not viable, but, for the rest of the business, we look confidently forward to a sustainable future.

“Throughout the last few months our customers have shown us a fantastic level of support, which we really appreciate,” he said.

 

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