List of department stores
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Dunnes Store is a supermarket and clothing retail chain based in the Republic of Ireland.
The chain primarily sells food, clothes and household wares. In addition to its main customer base in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the chain has operations in Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal. The format of the chain's stores are very similar to that of the British company Marks and Spencer, with a grocery supermarket operating alongside a clothing/textiles store. The grocery operation only operates in Irish stores. However some stores contain only textiles, while some (more rarely) contain only a supermarket. The company is famous for its St. Bernard label, and its slogan "Dunnes Stores, always better value". Both of these have declined in usage in recent years however, with "St. Bernard" largely being displaced by "Dunnes Stores" on product labels.
The chain was founded in 1944 in Cork by Ben Dunne, Snr, as a clothing retailer. The food side of the business began in the 1960s. The company opened the first Irish out-of-town shopping centre at Cornelscourt, Co. Dublin, in 1968.
The company is particularly known for the lockout /strike from 1982 to 1986. Members of IDATU (the retail workers Union refused to handle goods sourced from apartheid South Africa. Neither side would give way and the dispute only came to an end when the Irish Government made imports from South Africa illegal.
The company is not publically listed - instead it is controlled by a family-owned trust. It is not even a private limited company by shares, hence it does not have to file accounts, but does not have limited liability either. Ben Dunne (junior) was for a long time in a senior position until a 1992 personal scandal involving cocaine and prostitutes, which led to an internal feud which forced his withdrawal. Today two of his siblings, Frank Dunne and Margaret Heffernan, are in charge of the company.
Dunnes Stores main domestic competitors in the supermarket business are Tesco Ireland, SuperValu, and Superquinn. In clothing, their rivals include Penneys (Primark), Marks and Spencer, Arnotts, and Roches Stores.