Dunnes Stores – Cork
Image by infomatique
During the spring of 1944 a property became vacant on Patrick Street in Cork and Ben Dunne decided to put his savings to good use and start his own business. These premises gave him the ideal opportunity to put his ‘Better Value’ slogan to work and Dunnes Stores has kept that promise since the opening of this first store. Since then, Dunnes Stores has revolutionised Irish Retailing and is now Ireland’s leading retailer.
The Patrick Street store opened on the 31st March 1944. Gardaí were called to control the crowds as word spread through the city of the bargains on offer. Quality clothing at pre-war prices and lower attracted swarms of eager shoppers.
Following on the success of Patrick Street, a second store opened on the North Main Street of Cork in 1947. This was followed by openings in Waterford, Mallow, Limerick and Wexford. The first store in Dublin opened in Henry Street in 1957. This was followed by a ‘super-store’ in South Great Georges Street in 1960.
By 1965 the business had grown dramatically. At this stage, there were nine stores in Dublin, however, 95% of the business was in drapery. Ben Dunne’s next venture was to change much of the direction of the business. In 1966 he viewed two disused factory units in the Dublin suburb of Cornelscourt and saw the potential for an out-of-town shopping centre.
The opening of this first out-of-town shopping centre was a major change from the traditional High Street shopping which proved that there was an enormous market for food. People came out of curiosity and found they got ‘Better Value’. Shopping at Cornelscourt became an event, where people from all over the city could drive to, park their cars and fill up their boot in comfort.