J Sainsbury PLC’s Argos Ltd has announced plans to close all of its stores in the Republic of Ireland by this summer, causing hundreds of jobs to disappear.
The company employs approximately 580 people in 34 stores in the Republic of Ireland. The number of hours the staff works in Ireland corresponds to 330 full-time jobs.
Argos said it came to the decision to leave Ireland after a long period of “careful consideration” and a “thorough evaluation” of its operations and activities in the country.
The company said it concluded that the investment needed to develop and modernise the Irish part of the business was “not viable”, and that the money could be better invested in other parts of the business.
Argos says it is consulting staff and the union Mandate and offering a” comprehensive severance package “that goes” far beyond ” legal obligations.
The company said a “small number” of employees who are not eligible for redundancy under Irish law will receive a “one-time goodwill payment”.
The company also said it is committed to a program of broader staff support in the coming months.
Andy McClelland, Operations manager of Argos Ireland, said: “We understand this is difficult news for our customers and colleagues.
“As with any major change in our company, we have not taken this decision lightly and we are doing everything we can to support those involved. On behalf of everyone at Argos, I would like to thank our colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners for their support of our company.”
Argos said its UK operations are “performing well” and are not affected by the announcement, and stressed that there will be no change in the way it operates in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.
Most Argos stores will remain open to customers in the Irish republic until June 24.
The retailer will now begin phasing out its Irish operations and customers in Ireland will no longer be able to pay for orders via the Argos website or place orders via the home delivery service after 22 March.
Orders placed up to this date will still be fulfilled and customers will still be able to reserve products online and pay in-store until the time of business closure.