Downturn claims another victim

Ireland's economic crisis has claimed another high-profile victim with the loss of one of the country's oldest electronics businesses.

Peat's World of Electronics was revolutionary when it first opened its doors as just "Peat's" in Parnell Street in 1934, selling wet cell batteries, radiograms and other early electrical products alongside bicycles, prams and other equipment.

The family owned firm expanded over the years with ten other branches opening across the city. It weathered the worst of the recession over the last few tumultuous years.

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However, last week the company announced it was to close all outlets, including the Parnell Street branch, which has remained open for almost 80 years. the closures will result in a loss of 75 staff jobs.

A liquidator has been appointed to the company, marking the end of an era for trade in Dublin. The company's chairman, Ben Peat, gathered concerned staff to the Parnell St. store where he delivered the devastating news, citing "financial constraints" and the changing shopping habits of consumers for the decision to cease trading.

"It is evident in our experience that consumers have little discretionary spending at this time and sales volumes are up to 50 percent down on peak 2007 spending," he said.

"We have tried very hard to establish solutions with suppliers and landlords that could have brought balance and sustainability back to our business, but unfortunately it is beyond our power to continue in operation."

Ben Peat is the youngest son of William and Brigit Peat, who founded the business, which became one of Dublin's best-loved stores.

"The company had a fine heritage for quality, decency and value," Peat added.

"It became a popular name on the Dublin retail landscape, and its departure from the high street will be a loss to the tradition of family trading in Dublin.