A US private equity group has bought iconic Dublin department store Clerys in a pre-arranged deal.

The 147 staff at the store will be retained under existing terms and conditions as a result of the acquisition by Gordon Brothers.

A further 200 people, who work for concessionaires, will also keep their jobs.

The new owners say the deal will allow the group to make a fresh start after the struggles of recent years.

However, its sister shop, Guineys on Dublin's Talbot Street, as well the Clerys home furnishing stores in Leopardstown and Naas, have been put into liquidation with the loss of 29 jobs.

The High Court was told today that Guiney & Co and Denis Guiney Furnishing were "significantly reliant" on financial support from Clery & Co.

Joint liquidators Declan Tate and Sean Kelly were appointed by Mr Justice Sean Ryan who was told winding-up applications would be made in due course.

The appointment of the joint liquidators was necessary to secure stock in three outlets in Talbot Street, Leopardstown and Naas.

Lawyers said Denis Guiney Furnishings was insolvent without the support of Clerys.

The company employs 19 people between the Naas and Leopardstown outlets.

Pending the winding up order there would be issues for the liquidators concerning stock, employees and title.

The balance sheet of Guiney and Co drapery store at 79-80 Talbot Street was "solvent", but it had been loss-making in recent years and relied on the parent company, the court heard.

The situation was now materially altered because of the receivership.

Clery customer deposits, vouchers, will be honoured

Clerys' new owners said that all customer deposits, vouchers and store cards in place before the appointment of joint receivers Paul McCann and Michael McAteer yesterday will be honoured.

"The iconic Clerys department store has, for generations of Irish people, been an important feature of Dublin retail life and Gordon Brothers is committed to re-vitalising its fortune," said Frank Morton, Chief Executive of Gordon Brothers Europe.

He said that Clerys, and the sector in general, have faced significant challenges in recent years, and changes will be required to bring the store onto a secure and sustainable footing.

"We will invest in the store and look forward to working with the management, staff, concessionaires and suppliers to review and improve operations, to significantly enhance the offering to customers and build on the many excellent features of the store," he added.

Headquartered in Boston, Gordon Brothers was established in 1902 and has considerable experience and a strong track record in the retail sector.