Dozens of jobs have been lost after retail giant Marks & Spencer announced that it is to close its Mullingar store following a strategic review of its operations in Ireland.
Doors remained closed at the store, which is an anchor tenant for the retail development at Mullingar's Fairgreen, as staff were briefed on some 180 redundancies which are planned across M&S stores in Mullingar, Naas, Tallaght and Dun Laoghaire.
The store will be closed for the remainder of the day and it is intended that the stores will re-open tomorrow at 8am and trade until Saturday August 17.
A sign at the Mullingar outlet directed customers to the M&S store in Athlone for the duration of today's "team briefing".
Employees will be supported fully during this process and Unions will be fully engaged with regards to the redundancy terms and conditions, an M&S statement said.
Jonathan Glenister, Head of M&S Ireland said: "During this time our Republic of Ireland business has been under continuous review and we have made savings and found efficiencies wherever possible.
“However, the retail sector outlook has not improved and we have to act now to protect the long term good of the company. We have carried out a strategic store review and it is with regret that we are now closing four unprofitable stores.
“Our first duty is to our affected store teams and we have spoken to them directly today. We will now do all that we can to help them through the coming weeks and support them with their future employment needs. We are now closely engaging with our Union Officials from Mandate and SIPTU on all matters arising.
“Despite taking this difficult business decision, we are very proud of our Irish business and will continue to invest in it for the future.
"We hope that the news of a new flagship store for Limerick and an investment in our remaining estate will be welcomed by our customers and seen as a confirmation of our commitment to the Republic of Ireland."
Reacting to the news, Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden described the Mullingar closure as "extremely regrettable".
“I was very disappointed to hear this morning that the store is to close and my immediate thoughts are with the staff affected," she said.
"M&S has been a significant source of employment and this news is really disappointing for the town.”
“M&S management have informed me that they will do all they can to support the store teams in the weeks ahead and unions will be fully engaged in discussions as appropriate.”
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