THE Argos retail giant made a shock announcement today confirming it will close all its stores in southern Ireland.
Headquartered in Britain under its parent company Sainsbury’s, the brand, which specialises in electronic goods, gadgets and toys, has decided to close all 34 stores located in the Republic.
The move will see 580 employees lose their jobs.
There will be no change to their operations in Northern Ireland, the firm has stated.
Argos said their redundancy package would go “well beyond its statutory obligations", adding that following a review, their conclusion was that the “investment required to develop and modernise the Irish part of its business was not viable and that the money would be better invested in other parts of its business".
Argos stores will remain open to customers in the Republic of Ireland until June 24, 2023, the firm has confirmed to The Irish Post.
In the meantime, Argos will begin the process of gradually winding down its Irish business.
"As part of this, customers in Ireland will no longer be able to pay for orders via the Argos website or place orders via its home delivery service after March 22, 2023," they confirm.
"Orders placed up to this date will continue to be fulfilled and customers will still be able to reserve products online and pay for them in store until the point of business closure."
Ireland’s Mandate trade union were quick to respond to today’s announcement, claiming they will “engage intensively” with the retailer, “to get the best possible deal for workers being made redundant”.
Mandate official, Michael Meegan, said: “Today is a difficult one for Argos’s staff in Ireland as they get the news that the company will be closing down here.
“Because Argos is shutting down its complete operation in Ireland this amounts to a collective redundancy which requires a 30-day consultation period and we know the company intends to honour that obligation to engage,” she added.
“We will be using this period to negotiate the best possible terms for those who are losing their jobs and we are expecting a constructive response from the company,”
Socialist Party TD Mick Barry challenged the need for the closures, claiming: "Five hundred and eighty jobs are being sacrificed here on the altar of short-term profit.
“Argos' UK parent is a hugely profitable business which made hundreds of millions of euro last year.
“The books should be opened to inspection by workers' representatives and let society see whether these redundancies are necessary or not."
The Cork North Central TD further highlighted that Argos' parent company Sainsbury's recorded underlying pre-tax profits of £340m in the six months to September 2022.