Penneys is “an example” of sustainability that other retail outlets should copy, the Minister for Retail has claimed.
Today, the chain has opened a new store in Dundrum, Dublin following a €16m investment.
In recent years, the company says it has made a range of changes to protect workers and make its products more sustainable.
Minister Neale Richmond, who opened the new outlet in Dundrum, described the company as a “true Irish success story” and praised the way it had changed in recent years.
“To their credit - and I’m not here to speak on behalf of Penneys - they have shifted and they are shifting in this area of sustainability,” he said.
“For example, the store that I opened today in Dundrum has an entire ‘Pre-Worn’ section, it has an entire ‘Primark-Penneys Care’ section.
“There are where they are selling clothes that have previously been sold - designer labels, football jerseys for a fraction of the price.”
Minister Richmond said “vast amounts” of the company's clothes are sourced from “sustainable producers” and suggested it was cutting its carbon footprint.
“Their entire store in Carlow, for example, is carbon neutral,” he said.
“So, we are right to criticise fast fashion but we also have to say when retailers - Penneys or otherwise - make that pivot, we also have to recognise that as well.”
Minister Richmond also said it was important to “acknowledge” when outlets become more sustainable.
“Certainly, in the case of Penneys, they’ve quite clearly demonstrated that they’ve made a massive shift in terms of selling more sustainable produce, reusing recycled produce, reducing their emissions drastically,” he said.
“As Minister for Retail, I want to hold up stores like this and say, ‘This is the example for larger stores and medium stores.’”
There are now 37 Penneys stores in Ireland and the company has promised to invest €250m in Ireland over the next decade.
Main image: Split of Neale Richmond and the new store.