Jam Media At Murrays Exchange – Up To 40 New Jobs

Jam Media, the Dublin based animation company are opening new premises at Murray’s Exchange (the refurbished Whitehall Tobacco Works) on Sandy Row, Belfast with a staff of 40.

The firms animated children’s TV Series “Roy” broadcast by CBBC and RTE mixes animation with live action, where real life actors interact with the cartoon schoolboy.

“Roy” has won a BAFTA (British Academy Children’s Award) for best drama and an IFTA (Irish Film and Television Award) for best children’s/youth programme.

Tanya McKeown, Managing Agent of TDK Commercial Property Consultants would like to welcome Jam Media to Murray’s Exchange and wish them every success in their new offices

Dunelm has shrugged off anaemic trade in the retail sector to notch up a strong rise in its revenues over the past six months.

A bullish programme of expansion in which the homeware chain opened ten new superstores has helped revenues rise 13.4 per cent to £340.1 million in the 26 weeks to December 29, with like-for-like sales up 2.2 per cent.

Pre-tax profit jumped almost 15 per cent to £59.8 million.

The FTSE 250-listed group, which began life as a market stall selling curtains in Leicester, is now worth some £1.6 billion and runs 133 stores across Britain, mostly located in out-of-town shopping centres.

It is planning to increase this number to 200, including a further four new outlets over the second half of the financial year. Dunelm estimates that it takes just 30 months for a new store to pay for itself.

Nick Wharton, the group’s chief executive, said the appeal of Dunelm’s products remained broad and had been spread by the internet. “We have made good strategic progress during the period, particularly supported by our work to improve customer service, the continued expansion of our store portfolio across the UK and the progress made in our online offering,” he said.

“The final quarter of our financial year results presents some challenging like-for-like sales comparatives, but with a significant new store growth opportunity and an exciting multi-channel agenda in place, the board remains confident in the overall growth prospects for the business.”

However, Dunelm did point out that the first half of 2013 would bring risks, including sharper competition and an unpredictable economic climate. It also warned the low input costs that had helped to widen its profit margins might not last.


Source: The Times 12.02.13

The Business Desk reports that Dave Whelan Sports Ltd made “excellent progress” in its last financial year.
The group grew sales at both its gyms and stores as turnover in the year to April 1 2012 grew from £139.4m to £143.1m. Sales at the 66 fitness clubs rose from £79m to £85.2m and in the DW Sports retail stores from £57.8m to £60.3m.
The business posted healthy increases in ebitda, up 53% at £15.6m and pre-tax profits 95% ahead at £7.4m compared with £3.8m in 2011.
Gross margins increased from 70.8% to 73.6% and net assets increased from £6.2m to £11.8m.

Taken from Snap Shop

“Costa Coffee the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK and Ireland is to open a new store at Riverside Retail Park, Coleraine.

Costa have acquired the recently completed Pod unit adjacent to the Frankie & Bennys restaurant and they are to open in December. Commentng on this letting Mark Thallon at TDK the schemes letting agent said we are obviously delighted that Costa have chosen Riverside for their first store in the area. This is a great vote of confidence in the Park and we have no doubt they will help increase dwell time and that shoppers will enjoy their wide range of specialist coffee and teas together with the excellent food offering particularly in the run up to Christmas.”

Poundland celebrates a glamorous birthday

ONE MORE THING: Former Miss World and recent German Playboy pin up Rosanna Davison will be in Stillorgan this morning to help British discount retailer Poundland celebrate its first year of trading in the Republic.

Davison will do the honours at Poundland’s store in the Stillorgan Shopping Centre, which trades under the brand Dealz.

Stillorgan is one of the more recent additions to the Dealz network, which stands at 20 currently but is set to increase significantly over the next 18 months.

Poundland boss Jim McCarthy, who flies into Dublin today for the anniversary celebration, told me that he hopes to add five more stores to its chain here by the end of March next, which is the close of the company’s financial year.

“In the next financial year we hope to add another 10 stores, which will create an additional 300 jobs.”

According to McCarthy, this will bring the company’s investment here to €6 million and its employment levels to close to the 600 mark.

McCarthy was coy about revenues and profits but he said about 4 million customers have passed through the shops to date and the average spend of its consumers here is around the €8 mark.

“The Irish consumer tends to spend a bit more with us,” McCarthy mused, adding that it reflected a focus on value among consumers here in the current climate of austerity.

“We’re pleased with how the stores in Ireland have performed. It’s as per our plan, which has encouraged us to continue with our investment programme.”

Dealz is not your typical bargain retailer. It operates convenience stores with a large range of top branded goods available to shoppers at low prices.

Nothing in the Irish shops costs more than €1.49.

It claims to be Europes biggest single price discount retailer. Its slogan in the UK is everything for a pound, hence the name there.

Ireland is also providing a useful testing ground for Poundland as it ponders a move into mainland Europe, although McCarthy is not prepared to say which markets it might be keen on.

“We’ve only ever operated in the UK so it’s been interesting to come to Ireland and test our offering and our systems.

“Ireland is a test bed for us and has been very helpful to us in learning about trading in another market. We’re really pleased with the performance of the company to date.”

Taken from Ciaran Hancock of The Irish Times on 19th October 2012

Plans for a multi-million pound development in Belfast city centre are due to get the green light later.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood is expected to approve the Royal Exchange project, which aims to redevelop an area between Royal Avenue and the Cathedral Quarter.

The scheme was first announced by the government in 2006.

It aims to regenerate run-down and semi-derelict parts of the city centre.

The area between Donegall Street and Royal Avenue takes in the historic North Street Arcade, which was burnt down in 2004.

A planning application for the development was finally submitted in October 2010.

The plans for the development include more than 200 apartments, a hotel, an arts centre, car parks and retail units.

The Royal Exchange project is one of the biggest applications to come before planners in Northern Ireland.

The company behind the plan, Leaside Investments, is a consortium of two Northern Ireland firms, William Ewart and Snoddons, and Dutch firm ING.

Given the depressed state of the Northern Ireland property market, it is unclear when building work on the project will get underway.


Around 50 new retail jobs are on their way to Derry with confirmation that fashion retailer and TDK client H&M is coming to Foyleside.

H&M, which last week announced profits for a third consecutive month, will fill around 20,000sq ft in the Derry shopping centre. And its arrival means the city centre shopping complex is now fully let.

Foyleside manager Fergal Rafferty says he is delighted by H&M’s arrival.

“This reinforces Foyleside as the regional shopping destination in the North West and with the recent expansion of TopShop/Top Man and new arrivals Hoi Polloi, Jane Norman and Vogue leaves the centre currently fully let. These investments reflect over £5m investment since the beginning of 2012 and underpin the confidence that these tenants have in selecting Foyleside as their preferred location in a challenging retail climate.”

Mark Thallon Head of Retail Property at TDK who negotiated the acquisition on behalf of H&M said

“H&M are due to open their new department store in early October and will stock a full compliment of merchandise of ladies fashion, menswear, children’s wear and homeware.

“The opening is just in time for their busy autumn/winter season and complements their other recent Store openings in both Northern and Southern Ireland.”

H&M has around 2,600 stores spanning a total of 44 countries.

Sales at the world’s second- largest fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz grew for a third month in July, despite gloom in its biggest market, Germany, in a sign of robust demand for cheap clothes from shoppers.

Sales growth was slightly slower than most analysts had expected, however. Turnover at stores open a year or more was up 2 per cent year-on-year in local currencies.

The fast-expanding Swedish budget fashion firm’s total sales, including from newly opened stores, increased 11 per cent from a year earlier, compared with a mean forecast for a 12 per cent rise. H&M, present in 44 countries, is expanding in emerging markets, but has the bulk of its business still in Europe.

H&M, which trails Zara owner Inditex by stock market value, turnover, number of markets and number of stores, has weathered the downturn relatively well as shoppers focus on cheap fashion.

Nordea analyst Stefan Stjernholm said, “Looking at H&M this year, we know it’s a really tough market. Given that, I think HM has delivered a good sales development overall.”

Story from The Irish Times on Thursday 16th August 2012

TDKs retained retail client Semichem have been making an impact in the towns and cities of Scotland and Northern Ireland for over 30 years and are now on the lookout for additional stores over the Christmas 2012 period.

Established in Scotland in 1977 Semichem quickly is as a market leader in health and beauty discounting especially in branded fragrance and the successful business operates over 140 High Street stores across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England.

If you have a suitable property contact either Mark Thallon or Aaron Dougan on 028 90247111. Further details are available on the attached pdf.

The plunging popularity of banks has prompted Asda to follow its closest rivals in taking an aggressive step into the world of personal finance.

The move by Britain’s second-largest supermarket group paves the way for a showdown with Tesco and comes only a month after Marks & Spencer announced plans to open bank branches in its stores.

Asda is rebranding its personal finance division today as Asda Money in an attempt to extend its relationship with the 18 million customers it serves each week. It is also introducing a credit card with a cashback scheme that takes aim at its store rivals, a move that is as close as Asda has come to ending its long-established resistance to running a loyalty scheme.

Kirsty Ward, the head of Asda Money, said that the renewed assault on the personal finance market had come after a collapse in public confidence in banks and lenders: “There clearly is an issue with trust within the sector at the moment,” she said.

“What Asda can bring is our core business of 18 million shoppers. We wouldn’t want to do anything that jeopardises that, which makes it more important than ever that we get it right in financial services.”

Asda has been in the personal finance market for a decade but is dwarfed in the area by Tesco and J. Sainsbury. Tesco Bank made a trading profit of £164 million last year on a turnover of £1 billion; in contrast, according to a Companies House filing for 2010, Asda Personal Finance made £7.6 million. Tesco, which wholly owns its banking division after buying out Royal Bank of Scotland, its joint venture partner, in 2008, is poised to begin offering mortgages within weeks.

Whereas most retailers use a tie-up with a banking player — Sainsbury’s Bank is a joint venture with Lloyds Banking Group, while M&S’s banks will be owned and operated by HSBC — Asda is employing a different approach, setting up deals with third parties for specific financial products.

“The market is changing, customers are looking for new options and we want to remain agile. It’s difficult for larger players to be agile,” Ms Ward said. “The benefit of the multi-partner model is that we can adapt and go where our customers want us to be.”

Richard Hyman, Deloitte’s strategic retail advisor, said that the travails of the banking industry presented an opportunity for retailers. “It’s not so much a question of whether the retail brands are strong enough as whether trust in the banks has sunk low enough. It seems that with every passing few months, the banks are plummeting further and further.”

The credit card launched by Asda today will have a cashback element that effectively makes it a loyalty card by proxy, despite the trenchant rejection of such schemes by Asda, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart.

Ms Ward said that the cashback offer differed from other retailer’s credit cards and loyalty cards because it offered cash instead of points or vouchers.

The credit card scheme is operated by LaSer, a Solihull-based company that offers third-party loyalty and credit card schemes.

* Taken from Marcus Leroux of The Times on 9th July 2012