Flight to quality: Why premium retail brands can’t get enough bricks and mortar

As Nike announces a ‘concept’ store in Dundrum and the Chatham & King development off Grafton Street welcomes top-end brands, what does the future of retail look like?

Brown Thomas delivered an ‘experiential and wellbeing-led concept store’ at Dundrum Town Centre. Picture: Donal Murphy Photography

James Quinlan is recalling how at one stage during the pandemic, Grafton Street had more than 20 vacant units.

Tommy Hilfiger, Fitzpatricks, Ecco, Urban Decay, Pamela Scott, Topman, Monsoon and Cath Kidston had all left, and there was growing chatter that the Covid-19 pandemic may have hastened the death of the high street and in-person retail.

But for certain premium brands, it presented an opportunity to establish themselves in Ireland’s prime trading district and fill ...