The urgent need to boost footfall in Cavan Town by attracting a Penneys store to locate here was highlighted at a meeting of Cavan County Council on Monday afternoon. And it seemed that Cavan consumers agreed. Evidence of that demand came following a post by this newspaper online on Monday afternoon about the issue. Within three days, it has attracted over 500 comments, been shared more than 200 times and reached over 40,000 people.
The Celt contacted Penneys in relation to the story and also pointed out the demand for the store. They responded: 'Penneys is grateful for this support. We do not comment on future plans but the Irish market is very important to us. We remain determined to offer amazing value at amazing prices to our customers.'
Cavan County Council, however, has stressed that its doors remain 'open' to Penneys or anyone else seeking to set up in the County.
Fianna Fáil councillors Sarah O’Reilly put the item on the agenda of the February meeting of Cavan County Council. She proposed that the local authority invite Primark bosses to the town and assist them in finding a suitable site.
In addition to providing popular fashion at affordable prices, Cllr O'Reilly believes that the presence of a Penneys store in the county town would be a huge boost to to the local economy.
She made her points in the context of the recent €3M sale of a large chunk of land in Cavan Town to an investor fund and an aspiration for a major regeneration of the town centre.
“It is a well known fact that Penneys stores attract shoppers to major towns across the country,” argued Cllr O’Reilly.
Dismissing any possible argument that Cavan does not have the population base for such a store, she added: “Cavan Town has a higher population than Longford and Ballina and both of those towns have Penneys stores. These towns are keeping customers at home and are enjoying strong retail returns.”
She contended that young women and teenagers, in particular, are flocking to other towns such as Navan and
even north to Enniskillen to access Penneys to the detriment of other retailers in the area.
“It is widely known that shoppers drive purposely to towns where Penneys stores are located.
“We want to target these customers and attract them to Cavan Town. I believe that a Penneys Store in Cavan Town would be a huge boost to the economy, attracting additional shoppers and creating employment and this footfall would create a spin-off for other shops in Cavan.”
Council door 'open'
Responding on the matter, the chief executive office (CEO) Tommy Ryan said: “Penneys will make their own commercial decision – our planning, financial and fire departments will work with anyone wishing to come to Cavan Town to invest and in relation to planning applications and pre-planning”.
He agreed with a suggestion by Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) that it be conveyed to Penneys that “the County Council door is open to them”.
Cllr Shane P O’Reilly also supported the motion and intimated that he has two daughters at home who would be very happy to see a Penneys store in Cavan Town.
Fine Gael's Paddy O’Reilly asked: “Does the Penneys store have to be located in Cavan Town? Could it not be in Mullagh or Virginia?”
Cllr Daniel Downey (SF) also supported the motion and mentioned that the countless times he had heard people express a desire for Penneys to come to the town.
“It would definitely be a boost to the town and for the county.”