Brown Thomas opens £12m Dundrum store with gown hire and intravenous vitamins

Brown Thomas is expecting up to 40,000 visitors this weekend to its new department store in Dundrum town centre, which officially opens today. The 6,000 m² store, made up of two floors of the former House of Fraser outlet, was refurbished by Brown Thomas for €12 million.

The store will be used as a “launch pad” for a range of new services across the Brown Thomas Group, according to Donald McDonald, chief executive of Brown Thomas Arnotts, the holding company of the two Dublin department stores.

Among the services launched in the outlet are a Rent It! designer dress rental program, a Full Circle program to trade in old handbags for store vouchers, repair and recycling of luxury goods, and a “five-star” concierge service where the retailer will make arrangements to collect high-end buyers from their homes or hotels and bring them to the store to benefit from a personal shopper service.

“We will be launching the new Brown Thomas concierge service here in Dundrum and expect to roll it out to our Grafton Street store within the next four to six weeks, and to our other outlets in the coming months,” said Mr. .McDonalds.

With its rental service, a dress that can cost almost €1,000 new can be rented from the store for around €148 for four days, or €198 for eight days.

The new store will also offer health and beauty services such as vitamin treatments administered by intravenous infusion, as well as a beauty “makeover” department. The 12,000 square foot beauty room is nearly twice the size of the equivalent of Brown Thomas’s Grafton Street flagship and features the launch of Planet Beauty, a new concept centered around niche beauty brands.

Six times bigger

As part of the deal with Dundrum, Brown Thomas has closed its 8,000 square foot BT2 outlet there, but it will retain its BT2 Blanchardstown outlet. Overall, the new Dundrum Brown Thomas outlet will have 48,000 square feet of retail space, six times larger than its BT2 footprint in the center.

In addition to fashion and beauty brands, it also includes departments selling fitness equipment, electronics like Apple, and a commuter section selling electric scooters. He will employ door staff wearing a familiar top hat from his Grafton Street store at his front door. The store will also have another direct entrance from Dundrum’s Green car park, with up to 80 adjacent spaces.

The outlet will employ nearly 400 people, including approximately 220 new full-time positions. Mr McDonald said recruitment began in October and staff were trained at his other outlets over Christmas and January.

Change hands

Brown Thomas and Arnotts will soon change hands, as part of the estimated £4billion sale of Selfridges Group to a joint venture between Thai luxury retailer Central Group and Austrian property developer Signa. Mr McDonald said the new shareholder had been fully briefed on plans for Dundrum’s new outlet and supported the move.

The deal, which was announced just before Christmas, is expected to close in the coming months. Mr McDonald said the transaction was “exactly where we expected it to be now”. He also confirmed that Brown Thomas Arnotts will invest more in its IT systems this year, including new applications for its two main department store brands.

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