Menarys poised for High Street Challenge

The head of one of NI’s leading independent retail chains has said that investing in expert advice and adapting its business model to build resilience are the key factors which have helped his company weather – and survive - the Coronavirus storm.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 1:00 pm

Stephen McCammon, Managing Director of Menarys was speaking six months on from the last lockdown which saw all non-essential retail close on Christmas Eve.

Following an extensive review of Menarys branch portfolio, which included the renegotiation of rents and restructuring of lease arrangements, Stephen has consolidated the business and is confident that its 20 stores across NI will continue to play their part in securing a future for the high street.

“The last year has changed retailing for the long term, but we’re determined to be part of its evolution,” said Stephen McCammon. “Close collaboration with our main advisors – Collier, Grant Thornton, and particularly our legal experts DWF has been essential in re-shaping our business model. We now are confident that we are more flexible and resilient to face the challenges ahead.

Stephen McCammon, MD of Menarys and Ken Rutherford, Executive Partner, DWF in Northern Ireland
Stephen McCammon, MD of Menarys and Ken Rutherford, Executive Partner, DWF in Northern Ireland

“We’ve worked with Ken Rutherford, Mark Tinman and the DWF team for many years, and engaged with them as soon as the implications of Covid-19 became clear. Their sound advice and support throughout this very challenging time, most notably on property and banking, has been hugely significant.”

In line with its business review and consolidation process Menarys has opened a new branch in The Spire’s Retail Park in Armagh and other opportunities are being considered for early 2022.

“Implementing change has been difficult,” Stephen added. “In addition to the obvious pressures of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the acceleration of online shopping has been a challenge we’ve faced for some time. We’re now better placed to meet it head-on. We’ve opened our new Armagh store, again assisted by DWF in Belfast, and are encouraged to see that customers still crave the personal interaction that traditional retailing offers.”

Ken Rutherford, Executive Partner of DWF’s Belfast office added: “Menarys has been part of NI’s retailing structure for almost 100 years and Stephen has proven that it is possible to face extreme challenges, tackle change and build resilience for the future.

“With the business now reshaped and poised to play its part in securing the future of the High Street, DWF is delighted to advise and support the team on its onward journey.”

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