Sainsbury’s Argos business to exit Ireland

  • Argos to close all 34 stores in Ireland
  • 580 jobs will be affected
  • Says investment in Argos Ireland is not viable

DUBLIN, Jan 19 (Reuters) – British supermarket group Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) said on Thursday its Argos grocery business would exit the Irish market, closing 34 of its stores in the country and closing its 34 stores. 580 layoffs.

The group said it intended to close all of its Argos stores and operations in Ireland by the end of June.

Sainsbury’s bought Argos, which sells toys, technology and consumer electronics, for 1.1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) in 2016.

Its strategy in the UK is to close most of the stand-alone Argos stores while opening stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets. However, the group does not have supermarkets in Ireland.

“Argos has come to the conclusion that the investment required to develop and modernize the Irish business is not feasible and that the funds would be better invested in other parts of the business,” it said.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said Argos’ exit from Ireland had nothing to do with Brexit.

Sainsbury said there would be no changes to Argos in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, where its 253 stand-alone sites and 422 stores within Sainsbury’s supermarkets were doing well.

Argos workers in Ireland will benefit from an enhanced redundancy package that goes beyond their statutory obligations, the group said.

The licensing union expressed disappointment with Sainsbury’s decision.

Shares in Sainsbury’s, which has lost 18% in the past year, reported better-than-expected Christmas trading last week.

Reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin and James Davey in London, Editing by William James and Paul Sandle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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