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DEBENHAMS is to open new Irish stores in Carlow and Sligo as part of an expansion drive.

The department store chain insisted the high street was "alive and well" as it announced plans to modernise a further 25 stores and open nine new outlets over the next four years.

The expansion drive, which will create 4,050 new jobs in the UK and Ireland, comes in the wake of the 20 store refurbishments the retailer announced in June. The nine new stores, including Sligo and Carlow, will open between 2012 and 2015. The other shops are in England.

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