DUBLIN -British supermarket group Sainsbury’s said on Thursday its Argos general merchandise business will exit the Irish market, closing its 34 stores there, with the loss of 580 jobs.
The group said it intended to close all its Argos stores and operations in Ireland at the end of June.
Sainsbury’s purchased Argos, which sells toys, technology and consumer electronics, for 1.1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) in 2016.
Its strategy in the UK has been to close most standalone Argos stores, while opening outlets within Sainsbury’s supermarkets. However, the group does not have supermarkets in Ireland.
“Argos concluded the investment required to develop and modernise the Irish part of its business was not viable and that the money would be better invested in other parts of its business,” it said.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said Argos’s exit from Ireland had nothing to do with Brexit.
Sainsbury’s said there would be no change to Argos in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, where its 253 standalone sites and 422 stores inside Sainsbury’s supermarkets were performing well.
The group said Argos workers in Ireland would benefit from an enhanced redundancy package going beyond its statutory obligations.
The Mandate Trade Union expressed its disappointment at Sainsbury’s decision.
Last week Sainsbury’s, whose shares have fallen 18% over the last year, reported better-than-expected Christmas trading.