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Retail in Waterford City

  • 19-01-2023 11:35am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    More bad news for retail in the city centre. The council is seriously going to have to rethink their attitude to city centre retail. This thing of bricks and mortar shops dying is a load of crap. Just look at the Waterford Retail Park being full and building an extension. The problem with city centre retail is the council has made it hard to come into the city centre. Having a reduced car policy in favour of public transport when there is insufficient public transport. Using the city centre as a tool to force cars on to the bypass, that is not how you make a city centre successful.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,139 ✭✭✭hardybuck

    Another British retailer which has fallen by the wayside, which is reflected in the continued decline of the British urban centres and highstreets. Their product seemed to have gone stale and they didn't evolve, I think it's several years since most of us actually went into an Argos.

    Waterford is not immune to the types of challenges which impacted a town highstreet in the UK, mainly because it was starting to become dominated by a lot of the same UK chains that you'd see in Swindon or Swansea.

    While the main issue that you've cited is difficulty in coming to the city centre, the actual main issue is that so many people have to come to the city centre because hardly anyone actually lives there. If more people lived there it wouldn't become a ghost town every evening, less people would need to be driving around in cars, and you'd see a different mix of shops.

    There is two floors above that Argos retail unit which should be converted to residential space at the earliest opportunity (if this hasn't already happened.

  • Registered Users Posts: 280 ✭✭Valhalla90

    While it is unfortunate that Argos is leaving it’s a national issue also. Saying that the retail offering in the city is very poor. We don’t even have the two big international names Zara & H&M! and other stores such as M&S,New Look,Bershka,Pull&Bear the list can go and on! Imagine the turnaround in the city center if just one of these opened! Plenty of space in City Square there is no reason why it should be vacant this long! I believe Fraser’s are going into the old Debenhams unit which at this stage anything is better than nothing. We wait in hope!

  • Registered Users Posts: 317 ✭✭The_Shotz

    Sad day for the employees, possibly on the upside that is now 3 very large retail unites available in Waterford


    Front of City Square


    If we could attract some of the major retailers into those stores then we may see a change for the better, if we can not attract the types of retailers that we are crying out for then I do not know where the town goes from here, as all along we have been told that we do not have the desired retail space, that might have changed a little now

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,139 ✭✭✭hardybuck

    I was waiting to see how long it'd take before someone mentioned M&S. Another British retailer that was struggling before Brexit made trading in the EU that bit more difficult.

    More independent stores would be preferable - great to see a few more of those pop up in Waterford in recent years actually.

  • Registered Users Posts: 280 ✭✭Valhalla90

    While pop up stores are fine they are not going to bring in the footfall to sustain them! The small guys benefit from the big guys. Go to Clonmel and see the W reg cars going to M&S. I’m just highlighting what people in the city actually want and that is a Marks & Spencer store. we need to stop the retail drain from the city.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,139 ✭✭✭hardybuck

    Clonmel is actually the closest town to parts of Waterford, which might explain the 'W' reg plates you've seen.

    One of the reasons that those chains are struggling in the UK is that a lot of their stuff is cheap, generic fast fashion which can be bought online. Sure we need some of it, but Waterford's retail was starting to get dominated by it which is not a good thing. We definitely don't need to import the same issues they have over there in what's becoming a crisis.

    It's great to see a shop like Bebhinn coming along. We need more like them because these are the places that bring people in - they have nice stuff which is hard to get online, and there is a bit of an experience involved.

    And again, there needs to be a lot more residential property brought back into the city centre to address the total imbalance between commercial and residential development which has been pursued in recent years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 280 ✭✭Valhalla90

    I’m well aware of the boundaries of county Waterford but I’m also telling you there is huge retail leakage from the city. Small independent shops are great but they are not the overall solution to the problems of the city center. Yes more residential and more hotel rooms is needed but so is the big names that are missing that are found elsewhere. It’s not complicated at all. If the stores were here the city would be a different place!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭BBM77

    I agree that the big names are needed. Sole traders like Bebhinn add hugely to the city centre but they do not have the profile to draw large numbers of people into the city centre. Having some more big names will attract more people and make more Bebhinn’s viable. A rising tide lifts all boats after all.

    There was a perfect storm keeping the two big units empty in city square. Covid, the North Quays and the change of ownership of City Square, hopefully they will be filled this year. Generally speaking units in the city centre are taken up quickly when they become available.

    Agree also that more people need to live in the city centre. However, there is a problem that many people rightly or wrongly see coming into the city centre as a nuisance. Things that could address this are:

    The council have been sitting on the surface carpark behind the Book Centre for decades. It is a perfect spot for a small multi story car park to make accessing the city centre retail easier. I don't see the logic of wanting to build a shopping centre on the North Quays with a huge carpark. But not wanting cars south of the river.

    More of the one-way streets around the city.

    We might have to agree to disagree on this one but to me the Quay is a mess. It was not designed for any other reason but to force cars on to the bypass. To me that is wrong, it is messed up thinking and not how you make a city better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 341 ✭✭Crusty Blaa

    Not having a pop off you but I genuinely don't get what the obsession with M&S is. You're paying over the odds for products that have no Irish footprint. I think Dunnes Stores has a comparable product offering and at least you are supporting Irish producers and suppliers when shopping there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 280 ✭✭Valhalla90

    I agree! I would still like to see them have a presence in the city though.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,057 ✭✭✭goochy

    Just back from Liverpool . We haven't a clue how to run urban areas here . Liverpool isn't known as a prosperous place but it's a fine city . There is more money in cork and Dublin but they aren't great cities

  • Registered Users Posts: 280 ✭✭Valhalla90

    Liverpool has had huge regeneration with the Liverpool One project. Imagine if we got a tiny drop of that investment what we could have! For years we had McCann causing havoc here and the council of trade unions trying to halt the Newgate centre project. Now we are paying the price!

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,422 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal

    M&S obsession strikes again, people need to get it through their heads that they will never open a store in Waterford.

    It's nothing to do with Waterford, its because the company is in trouble and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they close the one in Clonmel especially as its a v poor store compared to what you see in Dublin.

  • Registered Users Posts: 840 ✭✭✭azimuth17

    This is from the Guardian some days ago. It may be of interest.

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,422 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal

    Logical move, they are keeping everything in house (UK) after closing up stuff within the EU in the above article about EU expansion, or even NI

    Its sad that some people seem to think Waterford needs M&S before its "made it", the stores are nothing special

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,338 ✭✭✭JohnC.

    People just want to pretend they're posh by shopping there.

    I'll accept nothing less than Fortnum & Mason 😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭walterking

    Waterford will never have a M&S.

    It simply does not have the population.

    And to compare it to Liverpool is not exactly a good comparison

    Waterford has a population of about 80,000 including environs.

    Using the same metric, Liverpool has a population of almost 1,000,000.

    It's not on flannels radar either. But that company could have a Sports Direct/USC/Brand max store if they were able to dispose of the one at SuperValu.

    It did boast Debenhams poorest performing store in Ireland. So it's difficult to see any department type store take it.

    In the UK some large empty spaces are being repurposed as entertainment venues with sports bar, vr gaming and other entertainment all targeting a family market. That might be the best/only option.

  • Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 9,010 Mod ✭✭✭✭Aquos76

    The M&S in Clonmel is shite compared to their Dublin stores btw. I'm not sure if anyone has been into Dunnes around the country lately and compared them to the Waterford ones, take Clonmel for example along with Newbridge and Portlaoise ones all towns by the way, they are a totally different level of store to what we have in Waterford City and if Im not mistaken, the waterford stores has the least opening hours on any store in the country.

    Retail in Waterford City is currently on life support and I lay the blame at the door of the council for this, they have spent to much time and money on museums and the viking triangle which might attract tourists during the Summer, but certainly won't entice shoppers from surrounding areas into Waterford, where as, Kilkenny, Wexford, Newbridge and Mahon Point are constantly benefiting from shoppers from Waterford.

  • Registered Users Posts: 840 ✭✭✭azimuth17

    The Viking Triangle is a space in which there is never likely to be major retail. Cathedral Square is the graveyard of the cathedral with medieval gravestones not very far under the present surface. People dont understand or know that the area was the "close" of the cathedral up to the late 18th century, with gated access, so developing it for museums, most of which were funded by private donation was perhaps the only option. If anyting the council has not really advertised or pushed the Viking triangle in any coherent way or consistent way. The CEO is married to the North Quays.

    I think the Kilkenny, Wexford notion is much overdone, although I like both towns. Kilkenny has its own problems. The Clonmel M&S is poor. Waterford is losing retail spend mostly to Kildare and Dundrum, with Mahon Point in third place. Dunnes simply does not have the space in City Square to make a full offer although it is consistetly busy shot. I was three hours in town today and most shops appeared exceptionally busy. Retail in Waterford is lagging and has lagged for the past decade, but the actions of Mr McCann and a deeply misguided WCTU weigh heavily on where we are at present.

    I would not give up hope. This year will be interesting, esecially in the Debenhams space.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,057 ✭✭✭goochy

    Dunnes could take over Debenhams assume reason they don't have restaurant is it would effect food court ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 280 ✭✭Valhalla90

    Fraser’s I believe are taken the Debenhams unit! But we will wait and see. Ideally it should be split and divided as it’s a huge unit. I would put M&S on the ground floor with Zara upstairs and H&M in the new unit facing Arundel Square. Then we actually would have a decent offering.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,338 ✭✭✭JohnC.

    Dunnes did look at the Debenhams unit and decided against it for some reason. I think it needs a lot of work.

    As for restaurant, there's no space for one in Dunnes. It's a fairly small place, as azimuth said.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭BBM77

    Pity Dunnes would not consolidate into one unit and sell the old Dunnes building in Michael St. Or maybe even better move to the new retail space in the proposed Michael St Shopping centre. That would free up a lot of space for the likes of Zara, H&M etc. If M&S ever come it will be a food only shop in the suburbs. Can’t see them ever opening a new city centre department store anywhere. It is M&S food that is keeping them going. Only for the food section they would be gone the way of the Dodo years ago.

    Another place that is seriously underutilised is the old DIY shop that is Café Nero now on Peter St. There is plenty of room for a modern retail unit there. The owner clearly just wants to milk the site and not put any money in. Again, that would free up a lot of space for the likes of Zara, H&M etc.

    Post edited by BBM77 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,057 ✭✭✭goochy

    Dunnes will do what suits them , they arent going to want to make things easy for competitors to move in

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭BBM77

    Yeah, afraid so. Tesco’s is the same apparently. Heard they have no interest in Poleberry. Just hanging on to it because they are afraid if they sell it M&S or someone else would go in there reducing the money they make from Waterford.

  • Registered Users Posts: 384 ✭✭GandhiwasfromBallyfermot

    Rumour has it Dunnes are the new owners of the vacant shopping centre across the river in Kilkenny. They're probably more likely to put something in there first instead of invest in their stores in Waterford.

  • Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭nomoedoe

    Didn’t that get planning to be knocked an built back up as a brand new store with a cafe?,could of sworn i seen that in the paper ,but yeah Tesco are only holding onto it as its a perfect location for a Lidl or Aldi and its by far one of the worst Tesco’s in the country.

  • Registered Users Posts: 384 ✭✭GandhiwasfromBallyfermot

    Tesco did have planning for that back before the recession but then the permission expired and when Tesco applied for extension of duration the council refused so that plan is dead in the water I think.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭BBM77