Sam McCauley closure of Waterford city centre store "sends out a bad signal and we should be concerned"

'Challenging retail trading conditions in Waterford, a loss of dispensing business in 2016 and a failure to re-negotiate more favourable rent terms led to closure and loss of 27 jobs'

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Sam McCauley Chemists has announced that it is to cease trading at its store on Broad Street in Waterford city centre.   

The closure, effective on 31st January 2019, will result in 27 job losses.

CEO of Sam McCauley, Tony McEntee, said there were a number of factors that resulted in the decision to close the Waterford store. “There was a combination of factors at play that made today’s decision an unfortunate necessity.  Trading conditions in the Waterford retail sector have been exceptionally challenging for some years, essentially, never recovering momentum from pre-recession times. Along with this challenging retail environment, the loss of a significant amount of the dispensing business in 2016 has had a major impact on the viability of the location.

“To address this ongoing issue, we endeavoured to re-negotiate more favourable lease terms, but were not successful in this regard.  Whilst the wider Sam McCauley Pharmacy Group is performing well and has significant growth ambitions over the coming years, we are fundamentally a commercial business operating in a highly competitive sector across the country. To that end, and to ensure that we grow and support our employee numbers, we must ensure that each of our operations are commercially sustainable.  We very much understand that this is of little comfort to our Waterford colleagues and we wish to publicly thank them for their professionalism and commitment over the years. Our HR team will do all that we can between now and the closure to assist them in securing alternative employment.

“Further to last minute negotiations with the landlord the store will remain open on a temporary license from the scheduled lease termination date of 13th October until 31st January 2019. This will assist the team in coming to terms with the announcement and facilitate some time for the landlord to secure an alternative tenant.

“We wish to thank the people of Waterford for their custom since we commenced trading in this location in 2001. Regarding Sam McCauley gift vouchers, we can assure customers that these will be honoured in full either through the normal course of business until closing, at an alternative store, or by a 100% cash redemption.

“The closure will have no impact on our Williamstown pharmacy, which will continue to trade and serve customers as normal,” Mr McEntee added.

Waterford Sinn Féin councillor Jim Griffin was “shocked” when the news broke. “I didn’t think things were that bad. I fear that it will be looked at on the papers as ‘only 27 jobs’. If it was some pharmaceutical company with the loss of 200 jobs there would be more of it, but that’s 27 jobs added to all the other jobs lost in the retail sector over the last two years. Long-standing names in the city have closed, and those 27 jobs are sustaining families. It sends out a bad signal and we should be concerned,” Cllr Griffin told Waterford Live