Custom House Dublin will have to abide by an “unacceptable” ban on “no nonsense” and “fad” if it wants to remain open in the UK, an official told ESPNcricinfo.
The ban, which was first reported by the Irish Times, comes as the city prepares to take over the reins from its rival London-based owner, Sotheby’s, which has been forced to sell off its entire European operations amid rising competition.
“We have been approached by Sothebys UK management to ask if we can open the doors to the UK,” Custom House’s Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, Richard O’Sullivan, told the Irish paper.
Sothebys management said it was “concerned” about the move and would “take action” if the request was not complied with.
Custom House was set to take on Sothebens London office in 2018, following the closing of the London office last year.
It is understood that the move could put a stop to the Irish-owned chain from opening its doors to customers in the United Kingdom.
Custom House is owned by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, who is currently working on a $1.5 billion takeover of the UK’s second-largest chain, HMV.
O’Brien’s bid is currently stalled, however, with HMV refusing to buy a majority stake in the company and insisting it would be a long-term project.
O’Briens group has long struggled to make headway in Britain, with its Irish unit struggling to attract shoppers and its overseas business being hit by falling sales.
While it has been in the process of reopening in the US and Canada, its business model in the country has been beset by a raft of problems, including a collapse in its sales.
Customs has also struggled to keep pace with the changing landscape of retail in Britain.
In the past year, HMVC has had to close three stores, including its flagship store in Leeds, and cut the number of stores in the capital by about half.