Arnotts (Ireland)

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Private company
GenreDepartment store
Founded1843; 176 years ago (1843)
FoundersSir John Arnott
Headquarters12 Henry Street, Dublin, Ireland
Area served
Key people
Donald McDonald (CEO)
ProductsQuality and luxury goods
RevenueIncrease €179 million (2016)
Increase €54 million (2016)
OwnerWittington Investments
Number of employees
Increase 3,450 (2016)

Arnotts is the oldest and largest department store in Dublin, Ireland. Its flagship store is located on Henry Street, on the north side of the city centre.[1][2]


The store has its origins in a business founded in 1843 at 14 Henry Street, by George Cannock and Andrew White. In 1845, two bankers, Andrew and Patrick Reid, became partners in the business. In 1848, White died, and the entrepreneur John Arnott took shares in the company. In 1865, Cannock departed the business, and the business was renamed as Arnott's.[3]

The main shop occupies much of the block behind the GPO to the west of O'Connell Street, between Henry Street and Abbey Street, covering an area of some 300,000 square feet. The original store was completely destroyed in a fire on 4 May 1894 (1894-05-04), and a new building was constructed in the following year.[3] It was registered as a private company on 18 April 1895 (1895-04-18). The main entrance is on the pedestrianised Henry Street. Across O'Connell Street in North Earl Street was Arnotts sister store, Boyers & Co, which closed down on 31 January 2016.[3]

A footwear-only branch of Arnotts was located in the Stillorgan Shopping Centre until 2011[4], with a former branch on Grafton Street initially changed to be branded as a River Island[5] before being sold in 2003[6]

Before the 2010 takeover, Arnotts was privately owned by a consortium, Nesbitt Acquisitions, comprising about 50 members of the Nesbitt family, led by Richard Nesbitt. The original owners retain one per cent of the business.[2] In July 2010, Arnotts was taken over by Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank, due to large outstanding loans on its failed "Northern Quarter" property development. On 2 November 2015 (2015-11-02), the store was taken over by Selfridges, a chain of department stores,[7] and now trades as a sister store to Brown Thomas which is part of the same group.

The newsreader Aengus Mac Grianna used to work in the Sports Department.[8]

Arnotts were one of the longest standing sponsors of GAA until 2009, when their 18-year partnership as sponsors of Dublin GAA came to an end.[9]

Northern Quarter[edit]

In 2006, Nesbitt Acquisitions announced their plans to redevelop their properties located between O'Connell Street and Liffey Street, incorporating the former Independent Newspapers building on Abbey Street. The new development was to be called the Northern Quarter and was to be one of the largest rejuvenation projects to ever be undertaken in this area of the city centre. The estimated cost of the project was €750,000,000. Following planning difficulties and the financial crisis in Ireland, the project never went ahead. Arnotts incurred large debts in acquiring property, leading to their takeover by financial institutions in 2010.[2]

As part of this project, it was intended to move the department store to a nearby former Debenhams Ireland branch in the Jervis Shopping Centre, but as plans changed this opened as "Arnotts Project" [10]; which operated for less than a year before being surrendered back to the landlord[11].


  1. ^ O'Brien, Ciara (28 July 2010). "Anglo to take control of Arnotts". Irish Times.
  2. ^ a b c Byrne, Ciaran (28 July 2010). "Grandiose dreams of capital's most iconic store collapsed in a sea of debt". Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Our History". Arnotts. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
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  7. ^ "International store group Selfridges buys Arnotts". 2 November 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  8. ^ "PAPER PROPHET Aengus MacGrianna". Sunday Independent. 16 October 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2005.
  9. ^ Arnotts end sponsorship deal Archived 18 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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