C&A: First Victim Of Primark’s Gran Vía Megastore

16 September 2016 – Cinco Días

The Dutch fashion retailer C&A has closed its store on Madrid’s Gran Vía, 48 because “it was not profitable”, according to sources at the firm. The premises, which have a surface area of 2,500 sqm and are located very close to the central Plaza de Callao, closed its doors for the last time on 31 August, according to the portal Modaes.es. It is the first victim of the mammoth Primark store, which first opened its doors on the street in 2015.

The C&A megastore first opened its doors to the public in October 2013, occupying a newly constructed building on the corner of Gran Vía and Calle Tudescos, on the site that previously housed the headquarters of Banco Atlántico. The property, which is 45m tall, was designed by the architect Rafael De La Hoz and represented the first new building on the Madrilenian avenue since 1932.

The Dutch firm leased the first floor of the building. “The store was not big enough to allow us to display all of our collections”, say sources at the firm. The rest of the property was dedicated to luxury homes and apartments. “Gran Vía was an innovative concept. It was the most modern store at the time”, said the sources. The owner of the commercial premises where the C&A store was located was the German real estate management fund GLL Real Estate, which acquired the site two years ago in an operation advised by the property consultant Aguirre Newman.

The arrival of the Irish chain Primark in Gran Vía in October 2015 has caused a revolution on the iconic Madrilenian Avenue. A real commercial rebirth, after several years when we saw mythical premises, as well as several cinemas close their doors. Rental prices in the area are rising after the crisis, driven by the constant pilgrimage of clients to the district. C&A did not want to associate the arrival of the low-cost fashion giant with the closure of its central premises. “It has not been a determining factor”, sources assured.

The firm explained that, after three years in the premises, it was no longer profitable. “Openings and closings are part of the evolution of a retail business”, they explained. The 16 people that worked in the store have been transferred to other shops. The only store that the chain still has in the centre of Madrid is located on Calle Conde de Peñalver, number 8, in the Goya area, premises that have a surface area of almost 5,000 sqm. Following this closure, the chain “does not rule out” opening other stores in the area, but it has not signed any deals.

The fashion chain, controlled by Cofra Holding – the investment group owned by the Brenninkmeijer family – has more than 2,000 stores in 23 countries and almost 60,000 employees all over the world. In 2015, the Spanish subsidiary, led by Domingo Esteves, reported losses of €10.6 million, a significant improvement compared to 2014, when it lost €41.1 million. Its turnover amounted to €363.1 million. The firm has more than one hundred stores across Spain. It will inaugurate its next store in the Fan Mallorca Shopping Centre, which is due to open on 22 September.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Eduardo Loren García)

Translation: Carmel Drake