STAFF ANGRY AS 4HOME SHOPS TO CLOSE
Mitchelstown and Fermoy are this week coming to terms with the announcement by 4Home Stores that they are to close their outlets in both North Cork towns. The closures will see up to 30 people losing their jobs as of this Sunday, August 16.
It is understood that the staff were told that due to the current economic climate, jobs at the store in Mitchelstown's New Square are no longer viable. Some of the staff have up to 40 years service with the company and are angry with the way they have been treated by management.
“There was no discussion, no options offered, no alternative, we were told that the store would close on Sunday, full stop. The staff would have liked to at least discuss other options with management other than just closing down. Some of us here have 40 years service with the company and we have been told that because the company, 4Home Stores, is insolvent we will be entitled to only statutory redundancy, one upset staff member told The Avondhu.
Located in the building where the Mitchelstown Co-Op began operations in 1919, the 4Home Stores is seen as an important link between the world famous Dairygold and the people of Mitchelstown. In another blow to North Cork, 4Home Stores also announced that their store in Fermoy will also be closing with the loss of another 10 jobs. Donal O Lochlainn of Fermoy Business Association described the closure as a ‘tragedy’ for business in Fermoy.
“It is a tragedy to lose more retail activity in the town,” Mr O Lochlainn told The Avondhu. The closure had been flagged for a while and the warning signs were there. I think it is a result of the bad days for Dairygold under Henchy, he did do a lot of damage to the Dairygold brand and it is a shame to see its demise all over North Munster.”
The closure affects 4HOME’s Co-Op Fermoy store on Patrick St only, with parent company Reox currently in negotiation with Dairygold in an effort to save the second store on the Dublin Rd. A spokesperson for 4Home Stores said the company regretted the closure of the stores in Mitchelstown and Fermoy.
“The recession has resulted in significantly lower consumer confidence and reduced discretionary spend which has impacted hard on the DIY and home wares market. This has resulted in a marked reduction in demand for DIY and home improvement products.
“With a sustained downturn and no uplift in consumer spend in sight, the company regrettably has no choice but to close stores which are no longer viable.”
The spokesman also confirmed that Reox Holdings plc, 4Home’s parent company, is currently in negotiation with Dairygold Co-op with regard to the prospect of the parent company taking over the operation of the company’s six remaining 4Home stores in Munster.
These are located in Carrigaline, Cashel, Fermoy (Dublin Rd), Mallow, Midleton and Mitchelstown (Clonmel Rd Timber Yard) and, while due diligence is underway, a deal, though likely, had yet to be concluded the spokesman added.
Chairman of Mitchelstown Business Association (MBA), Eamonn O’Brien, feels that the town has been hit hard by the recent job losses, we will continue to work hard to encourage business and job creation in Mitchelstown we must work together as a community to support all those who have lost their jobs and to ensure that we continue to support local businesses and services,” Mr O’Brien said.
Reacting to the news of the job losses with horror, Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe said that the workers at 4Home stores were about to get a raw deal by receiving only the statutory redundancy. He was also critical of the Dairygold spin offs including Alchemy Properties which was, he said, “now just a holding company for a number of practically valueless properties.”
“The closure of the shop in the Square and also the outlet in Fermoy is a huge blow not just to the workers but also housewives who found it a convenient place to get their hardware and household needs,” Cllr O’Keeffe added.
Thursday 13th August 6:41pm