DAYS before it opens its flagship Irish store, retail giant Abercrombie & Fitch has taken a small shop to court for selling its clothes without permission.
Limerick District Court heard that more than 800 items of clothing from the popular US brand were seized at a small shop -- McGazz -- in Limerick's Milk Market on June 13.
The court heard Conor Twomey of McGazz bought the clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch outlet stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He said he posted the goods to Limerick and had paid excise duty and tax before selling them at a cheaper price.
The majority of the stock -- estimated to be worth up to €32,000 -- was made up of Abercrombie & Fitch clothing along with some Hollister brands, which is owned by the same parent company.
Under the 1996 Tradesmarks Act, it is illegal to sell trademarked goods from the US in Ireland unless they are licensed to be sold here and the manufacturer has given consent.
Brendan Considine -- a private investigator hired by Abercrombie & Fitch -- told the court he had conducted a "test purchase" at McGazz on May 26.
He told the court the item of clothing was genuine and had been bought in the US.
Counsel for Abercrombie & Fitch said it only sells its clothing in stores which it owns and operates.
Mr Twomey contended that the goods were "absolutely 100pc genuine and legal".
He said he has never bought or sold counterfeit goods at the store. The judge granted an order for the destruction of the seized clothing.
This is the second such case taken by Abercrombie & Fitch in Ireland ahead of the opening of its store in College Green, Dublin, on October 26.