Retail giant Shacolas Group, operator of the retail chains Debenhams and Ermes, said that it will terminate the use of the Shacolas Tower in Nicosia’s Ledra street in order to make room for Sweden’s fashion clothing retailer H&M to open its first store in Cyprus.
The move effectively means the end of Debenhams department store as a Ledra Street landmark and leaves the area without a supermarket. Previous to Debenhams the store was Ermes and before that Woolworth.
The new agreement provides for the long-term lease of eight floors, the Shacolas announcement said, in total, two basement floors, the ground floor and five more floors.
“This shop [H&M] is expected to go into operation within 2016,” Shacolas said in a statement. Woolworth (Cyprus) Properties Plc, which is part to the Shacolas Group, “agreed with Ermes Department Stores Plc, which currently rents the premises, to terminate in the first half of 2016 the contract. This transaction took place because it was deemed to be in the interest of both Woolworth and Ermes”.
Clothing retailer Ermes will continue its “existing operations” both in Nicosia as well as in the greater Nicosia area, Shacolas said, referring to the department stores on Makarios Avenue and in the Mall of Cyprus.
But renting out the basement floors of Debenhams means the closure of the supermarket which many foreign residents of the old town – who don’t have their own transport – rely on due to its convenient location.
“At the moment there are no provisions for an alternative [supermarket] option provided by our group but we did announce that in the future we would operate a mall in the Shacolas Arcade on Ledra Street and there might be one there, but it is not something I can say with certainty,” Shacolas Group’s spokesman Pavlos Pavlou told the Cyprus Mail.
He confirmed that the Ledra observatory and museum located on the Shacolas Tower’s 11th floor would remain as is.
Pavlou refrained from commenting on what would happen to the employees who currently work at Debenhams on Ledra Street after it switches hands. “We have nothing to announce at the moment,” Pavlou said.
The Shacolas group was among the most vocal proponents of Sunday opening on the grounds that it could hire more employees rather than have to fire people.