Argos will close all of its stores in the Republic by June, the company has confirmed.
The retail firm said it decided to end operations here following a “long period of careful consideration and a thorough review of its business and operations in the country.”
Argos employs 580 people across 34 stores in the Republic. There will be no change to its operations in the North.
The retailer said it will propose an enhanced redundancy package for staff that goes “beyond its statutory obligations”.
Stores will remain open until June 24th at the latest, and customers will no longer be able to pay for orders via the Argos website or place orders via its home delivery service after March 22nd.
Argos said its aftersales, returns, refunds and exchanges policy will continue to apply until stores close.
Andy McClelland, Argos Ireland operations manager, said in a statement: “We understand this is difficult news for our customers and colleagues. As with any major change to our business, we have not made this decision lightly and we are doing everything we can to support those impacted.”
Mandate trade union official Michael Meegan said he would be engaging intensively with the company to get the best possible deal for workers made redundant.
The decision by Argos to close all its Irish stores came as “a big shock to its staff, Mr Meegan told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
“Today is a difficult one for Argos’s staff here in Ireland as they get the news that the company will be closing down here,” he said.
The decision had been made because of the difficult trading situation in Ireland due to of high rents and stock issues as a result of Brexit, he said.
“Because Argos is shutting down its complete operation in Ireland, this amounts to a collective redundancy which requires a 30-day consultation period and we know the company intends to honour that obligation to engage.
“We will be using this period to negotiate the best possible terms for those who are losing their jobs and we are expecting a constructive response from the company.”
He said was confident that the redundancy packages will be more favourable than statutory redundancy.
Most of the staff were long serving with an average length of service between 11 years and 15 years, he added.
Retail Excellence Ireland, an umbrella group representing the retail sector, said the closures were “disappointing” and showed “the fragility and the rapidly changing nature of the retail industry”.
“Retailers are experiencing their toughest time of year now and many are struggling to keep afloat,” the group said in a statement.
“It is critically important that the Government continue to monitor developments and step in with supports if needed in the lean months ahead.”
Additional reporting from Vivienne Clarke