MORE than 850 retail jobs were announced today as stores hope for the busiest Christmas period in years.
Some 650 of the positions were announced by two of the country's top retailers Boots and Heatons.
Boots Ireland will create 400 temporary full- and part-time positions in its Irish stores to cover the festive celebrations.
“Customer service is critically important at Boots and this is even more important when our stores are at their busiest the during the Christmas season,” said Carmel O'Brien of Boots Ireland.
In addition, department store Heatons will create 250 temporary jobs in its retail stores throughout Ireland.
Covering the Christmas period, the jobs will be across the company's 52 stores in Ireland.
“This year, we expect a very busy Christmas period. Each Christmas, our temporary staff play a key role in supporting our existing team in offering a consistently high level of customer service to all our customers,” a spokesperson said.
And ONLY, a Danish fashion brand, is preparing to open four independent stores across in Ireland, including a flagship store on Dublin's Grafton Street on December 6.
Another outlet will open in Kilkenny's MacDonagh Junction on the same date, with further stores opening in Limerick and Cork will open ahead of March 2013.
In a statement, the company said it has undergone an image overhaul and has taken a new style direction “that is ready to hit Irish shores”.
ONLY also has plans to grow in Ireland, opening up more than 20 new stores across the next three years, providing more than 200 new jobs.
Head of strategy and business at the retailer Thomas Lauritzen said: “The expansion of ONLY into the Irish market is a great move for us as a brand. ONLY will be creating a significant number of jobs in the retail sector over the next three years.”
Boots also announced it will be extending its opening hours over the festive period, with many stores open until 6pm on Christmas Eve.
Its jobs announcement comes weeks after confirmed an additional 27 new jobs in Cork and Galway, having opened new stores in both counties.
The news comes after retailer Argos said in September it was on the hunt for up to 700 workers for the Christmas period.
Its positions were for three months with opportunities to extend to four months and potentially even a permanent employment contract if vacancies were available in stores.