Retail guru commissioned to tackle problems facing troubled Limerick city street

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

David Fitzsimons is to produce a key report on the problems facing Cruises Street and the city centre

David Fitzsimons is to produce a key report on the problems facing Cruises Street and the city centre

RETAIL guru David Fitzsimons has been commissioned to tackle the problems facing Cruises Street and Limerick city centre.

Mr Fitzsimons, of Retail Excellence Ireland has been asked to carry out a retail strategy to help the ailing street, which has suffered from a spate of shop closures in the last number of years.

Metropolitan mayor Daniel Butler says the intervention is timely, with a statutory report due to be presented by council, from his findings next year.

Cllr Butler, who set a retail plan and strategy as a priority of his term in office, has welcomed the progress, but added: “As it stands, retail in the city is continuing to struggle despite the economic recovery.

“This is a trend we are seeing internationally and not unique to Limerick. However, we need to move quickly to develop a plan which addressed this trend and make a decision on what we want to see in our city centre sooner rather than later.”

The aim of the plan, once completed, will be to establish a better and more positive communications channel between retailers in the city and Limerick City and County Council, as well as documenting retailers not trading in the city, but who would welcome the change to open up here.

An implementation plan for retail in the city will also be created, along with the resources required to deliver them.

Key milestones will be documented along the way.

It could be as early as this month when an interim report is produced.

However, Cllr Butler says, the implementation of the plan could be held up due to a number of other things facing the city, including the O’Connell Street revitalisation, the plans of private developers, and the Limerick 2030 scheme, which will see the Patrick Street area, in time, transformed.

“So there are a lot of moving parts,” he added.

Opened in 1992, Cruises Street had the worst possible start to 2019 when two retailers closed in quick succession: Korky’s and Art & Hobby.