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Shops hope for boost over holiday weekend

SHOPPERS will enjoy special bank holiday openings this weekend as retailers try to boost sales after a slow start to the year.

A survey by Retail Ireland indicated that 70pc of smaller shops and 27pc of the biggest stores in Dublin will open for St Patrick's Day, when they had closed in the past.

Some shops are expecting an increase of between 10pc and 15pc on normal weekend sales.

"The fact that St Patrick's Day is a Saturday, usually the busiest shopping day of the week, and falls the day before Mother's Day, has encouraged retailers to open their doors," said Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam. Although some of the capital's department stores -- including Arnotts, Debenham's and Clery's -- will close on Saturday, it has more to do with logistics than sales.

The closure of O'Connell Street due to the St Patrick's Day parade is the main reason why such retailers will close.

However, Leesa Kavanagh, Arnotts' director of retail, said: "We will be open until 9pm on Thursday and 8pm on Friday."

Derek McDonnell, manager of the Jervis Shopping Centre, said he expected this weekend's sales to surpass those of last year's St Patrick's bank holiday weekend.

Brown Thomas managing director Stephen Fealy said he was also expecting a busy day at its store on Grafton Street.

Irish Independent