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06th Apr 2023

Henry Street to rival Grafton Street with massive ‘anchor’ brands moving in

Katy Thornton

henry street

Henry Street is on the up, and the long-awaited recovery of retail in Dublin 1 is well and truly underway

Shuttered shop fronts, and red-lettered ‘to let’ signs have unfortunately become a fixture of our main shopping streets, none more so than once our busiest of thoroughfares. While attention has been cast on Grafton Street, the city’s other streets Henry Street and O’Connell Street have also suffered from the combined impact of the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and the rise of online shopping.

News of big retail openings are expected to turn the tide in favour of Henry Street, with brands such as flagship H&M and Flannels stores in Clerys, and Tessuti’s first Irish store in the Jervis Centre expected to open in the Summer. These anchor brands’ opening has been described by Savills in their April report titled ‘Retail in Dublin 1: The Recovery is Well Underway’ as a “catalyst for improved market confidence”.

Describing it as a significant trend for the market, the report contended that Dublin 1 has caught up with the Grafton Street area in terms of take-up of vacant shops. Citing Spring 2021 as the ‘low-point for vacant city centre retail’ which saw unprecedented levels of vacant or available shops on our two prime high streets. With 42 shops available to lease, amounting to around 435,000 sq.ft., the size of a large shopping centre. Grafton Street had 24 shops available, while Henry Street had 18, albeit accounting for 70% of the available floor space mainly due to the vacant sizable Debenhams department store.

The rise of street fashion, and the halo effect of JD moving into the prime retail space, are credited to be the two clear drivers for retailers seeking space on Henry Street, according to Savills. The report reads;

The arrival of the large JD store in the Jervis Centre in 2018 changed the dynamics of the street. By all accounts it is one of the best-performing JD stores in the world. Alongside Penneys, it changed the shopper-profile of the street, and shifted the centre of footfall gravity towards Mary Street. Retailers such as Foot Locker, Pull & Bear and Skechers are happy to trade within JD’s orbit, and others will be keen to follow. The second driver is Occupancy Ratio. We have experienced healthy demand from well-established Irish retailers seeking to improve their prime high street presence. Henry Street offers them the potential for a more profitable store than Grafton when costs are weighed against revenues. The assumption is that this ratio will improve when all these new stores are opened.”

The long-awaited recovery of retail in Dublin 1 is well and truly underway,” the report continues, “Dublin 1 retail looks to be entering a sustained positive cycle. The large number of new stores to open in the next 18-months will surely improve footfall, helping generate opportunities for stronger revenues for all retailers, which in-turn will drive new occupier demand. This phase of the street’s recovery should act as a well-timed springboard into Hammerson’s vital Dublin Central project, which aims to start construction in 2024, and plans to include a Metro station amongst its 800,000 sq.ft. of mixed uses.

Savills have described the recovery of Grafton Street as swift, with global brands such as Lego, Canada Goose, Lululemon and Skechers securing key sites, however, there are still 7 vacant shops on the street.

Main Dublin 1 openers

-Sports Direct Group will be taking over the long-vacant ex-Debenhams into their marquee Irish store.

-A flagship H&M and Flannels store will be opening in the Clerys Quater
-Tessuti’s first Irish store in the Jervis Centre
-Levi’s are planning to open its flagship Irish store in the ex-Evans store at the corner of Henry/Moore Street.

-Dubray Books currently fitting out the ex-Dealz store on Mary Street

-Foot Locker taking the ex-H&M store in Ilac Centre

To read the full report visit the Savills website

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