Philanthropy to fund centre of retail excellence and innovation in DIT

Leagan Gaeilge

  • Launch of ‘ Arthur Ryan Retail Centre’ recognises contribution of Penneys/Primark founder to retail innovation on Friday 28th September
  • €1.1 million to locate centre on DIT Grangegorman campus
  • Arthur Ryan says retail sector needs knowledge base to compete

28 September 2012: A new centre for Retail Excellence is to be established in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), with funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation. The Foundation has pledged €1.1 million towards the building of the centre on the new DIT campus at Grangegorman. The Centre will be named The Arthur Ryan Retail Centre, in recognition of the contribution of founder of Penneys/Primark, Arthur Ryan to retail innovation.


Mr. George Weston, Dr. Arthur Ryan and Professor Brian Norton
 at the launch of the Arthur Ryan Retail Centre at DIT

The Garfield Weston Foundation was established by the Weston family, whose business interests include a majority stake in Associated British Foods, which in turn is home to the international retailer Primark, trading as Penneys in Ireland. Penneys opened its first store in Ireland in 1969, and the business has gone on to develop 247 stores in eight countries, now employing in excess of 43,000 people.

Welcoming the launch of the centre in DIT today, Arthur Ryan indicated that while the retail sector acts as a barometer for how the economy is performing, for its future success the sector must understand and analyse developments in areas such as technology, procurement and sourcing, logistics, and marketing.

“The pace of change in the retail sector is enormous and business is increasingly international. To stay competitive, there is a constant need to innovate and to anticipate trends. The DIT College of Business has always provided excellent support and expertise to the retail sector in Ireland and I believe this new centre, based in the School of Retail and Services Management, will become a hub for educational opportunities, research, and industry outreach programmes.”

The President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, thanked the Garfield Weston Foundation for its generosity in supporting the new Centre.

“This generous commitment by a leading international Irish-born retail organisation, represents a real contribution to Irish higher education and will assist DIT in delivering on its campus development. We have no doubt that the appropriately named Arthur Ryan Retail Centre will become a key international knowledge centre, establishing a strong focus on research, scholarship and innovation for the retail sector. ”


The development of the Grangegorman campus was identified as a ‘flagship project’ in July when the Government announced its economic stimulus plan. This announcement has triggered the start of significant work on site which will see over 1400 DIT students and staff moving to the new campus by September 2014, and a total of 10,000 students on campus by 2017.

Plans for the new campus at Grangegorman have attracted international recognition and a number of major awards. In May this year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) conferred its prestigious Honour Award for Urban Planning and Design on architects Moore Ruble Yudell for the Grangegorman Masterplan. Presented at a ceremony in Washington, this Award is a unique achievement for an Irish development. In July, the project won a further award for Excellence in Planning, presented in Chicago by the Society for College and University Planning.



  • The Garfield Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, the creator of Associated British Foods and the Foundation was endowed with the donation of family-owned company shares. The Foundation operates primarily in the United Kingdom and contributes to a wide range of charities, from small, local community-based organisations to those with a national reach. More information can be found via
  • The Arthur Ryan Centre of Retail Excellence will be located in the School of Retail and Services Management, College of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology.
  • The Centre will become an interface between academia and the retail sector and will contribute towards the development of sustainable retail policy, effective retail education and supportive retail services for the retail and services sector.
  • The DIT School of Retail and Services Management currently has over 1000 fulltime and part-time students. It is a dedicated provider of retail education and training programmes from undergraduate to PhD, and delivers significant levels of Continuing Professional Development programmes to those employed in the sector.
  • DIT is developing a new single campus at Grangegorman in Dublin 7 and will transfer all of its activities from 39 buildings in Dublin’s city centre to the new campus. Some of the funding for the project is being sought through philanthropy such as the donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation announced today.








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