Irish retailer Eason is to invest more than €5m (£3.95m) in the “ongoing transformation of its store estate” in 2016 and 2017 as part of a capital investment programme.
The programme has already seen the company commit over €12m (£9.5m) to upgrading its store network in recent years.
The 2016-2017 investment programme will include “significant” enhancements to its stores in Liffey Valley, Dungarvan, Mahon, Tralee, Limerick and Heuston Station, with the greatest portion being devoted to making enhancements to its flagship O’Connell Street store.
Further work to be undertaken at the O'Connell Street store will see the creation of a new destination bookshop, a new gifts department, a new destination children’s department in the store’s basement, an enhanced tourism offer and a rejuvenated news and magazines section.
Commenting on the capital investment programme, Conor Whelan, managing director of Eason, said: “Combined with wider investment in our retail and business strategy, the ongoing store capital investment programme has been a key part of Eason’s strategy to put the business on a sustainable footing, stabilise sales and return the business to growth. This has included the introduction of a number of new retail concepts and product categories into our stores, which have helped offset the declines experienced in our traditional categories.
“Whilst the recovery is still fragile, the overall trading environment is gradually improving and, importantly for Eason, we’re seeing signs of stabilisation in the book market. On the back of our investment in recent years, we’re now emerging with a well invested store estate and strong digital platforms, which puts us in a good position as we seek to implement our ambitious commercial strategy and capitalise on the recovery to deliver growth in the business in the coming years.”
Eason currently employs approximately 1,000 people and has 63 stores across the Island of Ireland - 35 own stores and 28 franchise stores.
Last year, the company completed the rebranding of two stores it acquired from Porters in Wilton and Douglas shopping centres in Cork, as part of its ongoing growth programme.