Rich’s department stores are closing in a major blow to the city’s growing retail sector, with many shops going dark on Saturday.
The Irish Times can reveal that the largest of the chain’s remaining department stores, in Cork, is set to close its doors on Saturday morning.
The last Rich’s in Cork was shut in July last year, and the company has said it has decided to focus on selling locally rather than exporting to overseas markets.
However, Rich’s Dublin has become a centre for the sale of organic products and is one of the last remaining places in Dublin that sells organic produce.
On Thursday, the company announced that it was closing its last stores in the city, with its parent company, GAA, deciding to sell the business.
It is the first time the company, which is owned by GAA’s shareholders, has closed a Dublin store since it was set up by the family of George Ross in 1992.GAA is the Irish Government’s biggest shareholder in the company.
However a spokesperson for the company said that the closing of the stores would be for the “best interests of the people of Dublin”.
Mr Ross, who died in March, had been battling cancer for the past decade.
He is survived by his daughter, who is a senior adviser to the company’s management team.
A spokesperson for Mr Ross’s son said that he was “disappointed” and would not be commenting.
The company is owned and run by the Ross family, who were the first to take over the company in 1998.
It has been a rollercoaster ride for the brand.
Its debut in 2007 was met with mixed reviews from consumers and critics.
In the same year, the brand became embroiled in a high-profile feud with US rapper Snoop Dogg.
The feud escalated in 2008 when Mr Ross was reported to have used homophobic slurs against the rapper.
In 2011, the rapper was fined $1.5m by US authorities for breaching a restraining order after the rapper called him “a nigger”.
In 2016, Mr Ross became the subject of a US investigation after he was caught in the act of stealing money from a US charity.
He was banned from entering the US in March 2018.
Last month, Rich said it was considering closing all its stores in Ireland.
It said it would continue to operate a number of retail outlets in Ireland, including a grocery store and a coffee shop, but that it would not open a new Rich’s store in the country.
The spokesman said that there was no immediate plan to open a Rich’s Irish outlet in Ireland or the United States.
However he said that “any decision that is made to close a store or store location will not be made without the consent of the owner”.
He added that there would be no closure of any Rich’s stores in any country.
Last week, the family announced it would be selling the company to a private equity group.
The family has said that they had invested in the business in the early 1990s and would be “taking over” the company once it had grown to $3.6bn.
The group has reportedly received more than €2bn in cash and shares from the Rosses.
The Rosses have previously said that their family had a “long and close” friendship with the company and that it had always operated as an independent entity.