An interim examiner has been appointed by the High Court to BQ Ireland Ltd, which operates nine DIY stores in the Republic, employing 690 staff. Two of the stores – in Athlone and Waterford – will be closed under cost-cutting proposals, with a consequent loss of jobs. Some 92 staff are employed in these two stores.
The company has 190 full-time positions and 500 part-time jobs. Its other stores are located in Cork, Galway, Liffey Valley, Limerick, Naas, Swords and Tallaght.
The company believes seven stores could be viable if rents are substantially cut and other cost-cutting measures are implemented.
It is paying some €11.6 million in rent for the stores and has been advised that this is about €5.8 million above open-market rents.
Seeking the interim examiner, Rossa Fanning, for the company, said yesterday it was insolvent with liabilities of more than €17 million to its parent company, UK-based Kingfisher plc, but had no bank or revenue debts.
Its turnover had fallen 24.2 per cent from a peak of €124 million in 2009 to €94.2 million in the financial year to end January 2012.
A loss of some €20.5 million is forecast for the year ended January 2013, including restructuring costs and loss-making provisions.
The company blame their difficulties on depressed trading and unsustainable rents given they are tied into upwards only long term lease agreements.
Gerard O’Toole- Comments “B&Q are the prominent anchor tenant in a number retail parks around the country and in these interest on their ongoing success, one hopes the examiner process will be successful. However, the imminent closure of some of these stores brings into sharp focus the question of over rented properties and upwards only rent reviews. The government appeared to have drawn a line under the matter last year having taking legal advice but this issue will I suspect be lobbied for again”.