End of a Swords era with the loss of JC Savage’s supermarket

by Sylvia Pownall

Dunnes Stores is proposing a takeover of JC Savage’s supermarket in Swords, which will herald the end of Ireland’s largest independent retailer.

Dublin Gazette understands that the store’s 135 staff were informed of the takeover several weeks ago, with August 1 given as a date for the changeover.

The iconic supermarket was built by JC Savage in 1977 and is the last business owned by the Savage family in Swords following the closure of the Lord Mayor’s pub.

While some locals have been critical over the secrecy surrounding the deal, others have suggested a memorial to JC for his contribution to the town.

Cllr Brigid Manton (FF) said: “JC loved Swords and everything about Swords. He’s as associated with the town as Joe Dolan was with Mullingar.

“I certainly wouldn’t be averse to something being done to honour him.”

Cllr Manton added: “JC’s supermarket was an institution in Swords and the family employed a lot of locals. They will be greatly missed.”

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed but the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has been notified and has commenced a preliminary investigation.

JC’s first opened as a stand-alone supermarket at Swords Shopping Centre with several smaller outlets including a jewellers, dry cleaners and newsagents.

Dunnes Stores took over the front section of the centre more than a decade ago, selling clothing and household goods, with JC’s continuing to operate the grocery store.

In 2017, 20 full-time staff were laid off as the opening of German discounter Lidl nearby impacted business. Accounts for 2017 show JC’s turnover fell nearly 17%, with a financial loss of €595,000 recorded.

The Savage family have been unavailable for comment on the proposed takeover, but the CCPC has 30 days to determine the competitive impact of the deal.


Locals are lamenting the loss of the Rathbeale Road store famous for its Wall of Value bargains, quirky tannoy announcements, and unrivalled customer service.

Some have suggested a plaque or a statue to honour JC Savage and the Savage family in recognition of the employment they have given the town over the decades.

Cllr Joe Newman (Ind) said: “JC provided great service to the community. I’d be open to suggestions on doing something to honour him. He was ahead of his time and he was a great character.”

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