Retailer Penneys is to create 700 new jobs as part of a €250 million investment in stores in Ireland.
The company will significantly increase its total retail space and plans include a new store in The Square in Tallaght, which will open in autumn next year, employing 300 people.
It also includes a €60 million investment in the redevelopment and extension of the Patrick Street store in Cork city, and an extension at the Eyre Square outlet in Galway.
A new distribution centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare, is due to open in 2024.
Speaking at Penneys’ headquarters in Dublin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it was an “enormous vote of confidence” in the retail sector in Ireland.
He added: “I’m really pleased to be here in Primark/Penneys’ headquarters here in Dublin, where the company has just announced that they’re going to create 700 new jobs, 100 here in Primark HQ and 600 in Penneys stores across the country.
“That’s linked to an investment of a quarter of a billion euros in their stores around the country. So a phenomenal investment.
“The jobs are really good jobs. I think it’s also an enormous vote of confidence in the retail sector.”
He added: “It’s creating significant employment with 700 new jobs and will also help to secure footfall in our towns and cities once we emerge from the pandemic.
“Penneys is one of Ireland’s best-known retailers and also an international success story, having driven significant global expansion over the last few years.”
Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Damien English, added: “It’s fabulous that we have a company like Penneys, a brand that is so well known, investing in the future of retail.”
Paul Marchant, chief executive of Primark, said the investment represented their faith in bricks and mortar stores.
He said: “This is a day to feel really proud and excited about the investment in Ireland. Seven hundred jobs, 600 of them in our retail stores and right across the country and 100 in our head office.
“We continue to expand the Primark business across the world.
“I think this is because of our belief in bricks and mortar, we are real believers in stores.
“We feel it is the right time for us to invest in Ireland. We have got a very loyal customer here, the customers love the Primark/Penneys proposition and we want to continue to invest in stores across the country.”
He added: “We hugely value our incredibly loyal Irish customers who have supported us over the years.
“Our investment plans demonstrate the confidence and commitment we have to Penneys in Ireland – we plan to remain at the centre of Irish retail for a long time to come.”
Penneys already employs 5,000 staff in Ireland.
Globally, Primark has about 399 stores and 70,000 staff.