Austins (department store)

Austins was a department store in the Diamond area of Derry in Northern Ireland. The store was established in 1830 and, until 2016, remained standing as the world's oldest independent department store.[1] The building measures 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) and is five stories high, with an Edwardian-style baroque exterior built in 1906 by MA Robinson after the original building was destroyed by fire. The Austins Department store building in the Diamond was owned by the City Hotel Group, but the actual retail operation was leased to Hassonzender, which went into liquidation.

The department store closed its doors to staff and the public without warning on 8 March 2016.[2][3] The liquidators state that the unforeseen costs of dealing with asbestos, and the disruption to trading this would have entailed, proved to be a stumbling block to attracting investment and this led to the sudden closure. Derry City Council officials raised the issue of dealing with the asbestos following the introduction of new regulations, in the Spring of 2015.[4]


  1. Hasson, Declan. "Austins in brief – the world's oldest independent department store". Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  2. Allan, Claire (2016-03-08). "Austins: Jobs fear as Ireland's oldest department store closes its doors". Derry Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-08. DUP MLA Gary Middleton told the Journal that staff had been called to a meeting this morning to be told the store would cease trading with immediate effect and that their P45s were being prepared.
  3. "What next for Austins in Derry?". BBC Radio Foyle. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.( Page will play audio when loaded)
  4. McDaid, Brendan (1 April 2016). "Asbestos issues 'undermined' Austins investment". Derry Journal. Retrieved 2017-03-20.

Coordinates: 54°59′42″N 7°19′19″W / 54.995°N 7.322°W / 54.995; -7.322

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