RETAILER Marks & Spencer still plans to locate its proposed flagship Limerick store in the Horizon Mall development on the outskirts of Limerick city.
The retail giant, which this Tuesday announced a new three year partnership with Munster Rugby, is proposing a “new flagship M&S store to open in 2016, creating 250 jobs”.
When contacted by the Limerick Leader, a spokesperson confirmed that M&S still intend to open in the proposed Horizon Mall development, modified planning permission for which was turned down by the amalgamated Limerick City and County Council in August.
Developer Suneil Sharma subsequently confirmed to this newspaper that he had lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala for the planned €100m shopping centre. Mr Sharma had sought to modify the plans to the partially built site, originally known as Parkway Valley and renamed as Horizon Mall.
Thirteen objections, representing more than 60 businesses in the city and surrounding areas, were lodged against the revision of plans, which sought to reduce the size and scale of the development from 73,142 square metres to 63,712 square meres, with its height knocked down by nine metres to 33m.
The revised plans were to include two anchor tenants - one being M&S’s largest store outside Dublin - as well as 37 smaller outlets, down from 75 units when the project was first mooted.
The partnership announced with Munster will see the retailer become sponsors of the province’s community rugby programme.
M&S will support the community team of eight full-time rugby officers and 10 part-time officers that provide services to clubs, schools and communities at every level in the province.
M&S will also sponsor half time mini rugby matches at Munster’s home games, as well as supporting over 100 blitzes which are held for clubs and schools each season.
“We are delighted to welcome a brand as prestigious as Marks & Spencer to Munster Rugby,” said Garrett Fitzgerald, CEO.
“Such a partnership speaks volumes about how the organisation is performing on and off the pitch and it allows us to further develop our community rugby programme which is vital to our growth and success.
“This initiative has come about through the ongoing vital work of our Commercial Board chaired by Niall FitzGerald, and is one of a growing number of inputs they have had in ensuring that Munster Rugby are at the forefront of European Rugby.”
Nathan Ansell, Head of Brand and Marketing with M&S said the retailer was “tremendously excited about this partnership with Munster as it gives us a great opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of thousands of young people and help develop the next generation of rugby talent in Ireland”.