Limerick city stores set to open on St Stephen's Day

AS LIMERICK'S annual city centre ice rink opened its doors for business this Wednesday, it was confirmed that some of the city's biggest department stores are to throw open their doors on St Stephen's Day for the first time ever.

AS LIMERICK'S annual city centre ice rink opened its doors for business this Wednesday, it was confirmed that some of the city's biggest department stores are to throw open their doors on St Stephen's Day for the first time ever.

In a major departure, Brown Thomas will open for the first time in its

history on the day after Christmas,w hile Penneys and Debenhams will

also follow suit.

Crescent Shopping Centre have told the Leader that the store will not open on Stephen's Day, however.

Liam Dwan, general manager of Brown Thomas, told the Leader that the department store decided they "couldn't afford not to open" this year.

"Brown Thomas in Dublin and Cork opened last year for the first time

and they were very busy, so Galway and ourselves are opening this year as a result," said Mr Dwan.

"It is based on demand, because those days were so successful, we decided we couldn't afford not to open. Customer demand has forced us to open," he added.

Limerick Chamber chief executive Maria Kelly said she "fully

supported" this new trend.

"According to anecdotal evidence, shops that traded last year on Stephen's Day had an extremely successful day," she said.

"In Limerick it is not traditionally a shopping day, but these times I

can understand why they would decide to do it. I think there is a lot

of concern about how the beginning of 2011 is going to go, so if opening

on St. Stephen's Day gives them an extra day (of trading), I am all for

that."

BT's will open from 10am-6pm, while Debenhams will open from 11.30am-6pm.

Meanwhile, Limerick On Ice, one of the highlights of the local festive calender, opened in Arthurs Quay Park this Wednesday afternoon after much anticipation.

The city centre icerink, which returns to Arthurs Quay Park for

the seventh successive year, catered to thousands of skaters last

year and can accomodate up to 200 people on the ice at any one time.

The rink took ten days to construct and it is hoped that more than 20,000 skaters will take to the ice.