Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Fashion chain H&M lodge plans for major expansion of Westmeath store

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Stock image. Photo: (Chris Radburn/PA)

Athlone Towncentre, where H&M are eyeing plans to undertake a large-scale expansion.

thumbnail: Stock image. Photo: (Chris Radburn/PA)
thumbnail: Athlone Towncentre, where H&M are eyeing plans to undertake a large-scale expansion.

Swedish fashion chain H&M has announced plans to undertake a major expansion of its premises in Athlone.

Designs have been lodged by Hurley Property ICAV, for and on behalf of its sub-fund National Property Fund, to amalgamate three retail units over two floors in Athlone Towncentre.

H&M currently occupy a unit inside the largest shopping centre in the midlands, stretching over two floors.

All of the mooted modifications to the three units revolve around internal works being carried out.

The ambitious expansion comes on the back of the clothing multi-national firm’s opening of its store at the refurbished Clerys Quarter on O’Connell Street in Dublin ten days ago.

In a planning report compiled by Dublin based consultancy firm McGill Planning, representatives for the fashion chain said the expansion would bring untold economic spin-offs to Athlone’s local business sector.

Athlone Towncentre, where H&M are eyeing plans to undertake a large-scale expansion.

“H&M is one of the few comparison retail businesses actively expanding and opening new stores in Ireland despite the uncertain in-store retail environment post Covid with online retailing growing exponentially to the detriment of high street stores,” read an excerpt from the planning file.

“Facilitating the expansion of this long-term tenant for this retail space within Athlone Town Centre is critical to ensuring the ongoing success, vitality and viability of the Athlone Concentre Shopping Centre.”

The proposals would appear to fall in line with recent comments made by company bosses to maintain growth in competitive market conditions by continuing to “look for suitable locations for new stores and ensure relevance of product profile”.

Consultancy officials said development, subject to planning will “sustain and increase” footfall around the town’s Civic Square while providing “indirect benefits” to adjoining businesses such as local post offices, cafes, restaurants and others retail stores.

They also state by allowing a key retail anchor such as H&M to expand, Athlone’s competitiveness and importance as a “Regional Growth Centre” will be invariably strengthened as a result.

A decision on the plans is expected to be made by May 14.

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