Eason takes on Hughes and Hughes airport stores
04.03.10 | Graeme Neill

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/114254-eason-takes-on-hughes-and-hughes-airport-stores.html

Irish bookshops chain Eason has taken over seven Hughes & Hughes Irish airport stores, safeguarding 120 jobs that had been at risk following the retailer’s collapse last week. Five units at Dublin Airport and two shops at Cork airport will be run by Eason from tomorrow (5th March).

The Dublin Airports Authority received a number of bids for the shops before signing a deal with Eason on Wednesday evening (3rd March). Under the agreement, Eason will pay the DAA a percentage of turnover rather than a fixed annual rent, an agreement the authority previously had with Hughes & Hughes.

Conor Whelan, m.d. of Eason, said: “The retail environment in Ireland remains extremely challenging and we have a great deal of sympathy for the management and staff at Hughes & Hughes which has been a longstanding and respected competitor.

“Nevertheless, we are pleased that Eason is in a position to ensure that another strong Irish book brand will operate in Dublin and Cork Airports. These are prestigious retail locations and we decided to take up this opportunity, despite the challenging marketplace at present. The prime locations will ensure that Irish and foreign travellers alike are greeted with a strong, well-established, inherently Irish brand when arriving or departing from Ireland through these airports.”

More than 20 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport in 2009 with 2.8 million travelling through Cork Airport. DAA commercial director Jack MacGowan said: “The DAA was deeply saddened to see a receiver appointed to Hughes & Hughes, as we had worked with them for many years at Dublin and Cork airports. The Hughes & Hughes’ airport business is and was profitable and the agreement with Eason & Son will secure 120 jobs and ensure continuity of service for our customers at Dublin and Cork airports.”

Eason operates 54 stores across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, employing more than 1,500 staff.

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