The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has approved the outright purchase of the Arnotts department store in Dublin by property developer Noel Smyth’s Fitzwilliam Finance Partners.

Earlier this year, the group won a battle with US rival group Apollo for control of the landmark Dublin store and reached an agreement to buy Apollo’s 50% stake.

The formalities of officially acquiring the US group’s share in Arnotts will be completed in the coming weeks.

Following the announcement, Fitzwilliam Finance Partners Managing Director Noel Smyth said the group will continue to pursue plans to appoint an operator for the main business and stated a number of expressions of interest have been received from retailing interests.

 "It is our core objective to maintain the iconic brand of Arnotts, which is synonymous with retailing in Dublin city centre and to build on this landmark brand," Mr Smyth added.

Fitzwilliam Finance Partners initially acquired its 50% share in Arnotts by buying €140m of the department store’s loans from Ulster Bank.

Arnotts had built up nearly €400m of debt prior to the recession by purchasing property around the department store’s location, with the intention of developing the area into a retail quarter.