RETAIL GIANT EYES IRISH MARKET
British retail giant WH Smith is considering making a bid for the assets of the Irish bookstore chain, Hughes & Hughes, which went into receivership on Friday. Most of the Sunday newspaper speculated on WH Smith’s interest in the chain – especially the valuable Hughes & Hughes concession shops at Cork and Dublin Airports. The two airport shops continued to trade over the weekend.Easons is also likely to be a bidder for some of the outlets at the airports and nationwide. The receiver, Deloitte, will begin talks with potential trade buyers over the coming days as it seeks a quick deal. The Business Post said that a move into Ireland by WH Smith would shake up the local market – the company has 18,000 employees and annual revenues of £1.3 billion.
Hughes & Hughes cites collapsing consumer demand, the rise of on-line book retailing, the fall of passenger numbers at the airports and rent costs as the cause of its difficulties.