THREE stores on Cruise's Street have closed in the past month, and more city stores are expected to shut in the coming months as they evaluate their businesses in the new year.
The pedestrianised shopping zone saw the closure of British chain Dorothy Perkins at 6 Cruise's Street; the shoe store Barratt's at No 5, and the Early Learning Centre, which has moved in with Mothercare.
Barrett's and Dorothy Perkins have outlets in the Crescent Shopping Centre.
City manager Tom Mackey expressed disappointment at the move, but reiterated that businesses open and close in the city centre on a continuous basis.
"It's very disappointing to see any city centre business closing but the majority of shops seem to have done quite well over Christmas," said Mr Mackey.
Brown Thomas, among others, reported "brisk" trade over Christmas, and their 70 per cent sale on selected items continues.
However, there was good news for the city in recent times, with the reopening of Centra on O'Connell Street, and the popular Melt chocolate cafe on Catherine Street.
Two Asian restaurants have also opened on Glentworth Street and Henry Street, replacing the former Munchy Munchy Chinese restaurant and Brulees respectively.
Mr Mackey said there were a number of incentives for businesses to open in the city, such as the free parking incentive that was offered before Christmas, and that they were conscious of the costs businesses were under at present.
Limerick City Council was due j30m in rates last year, but predicted the take-in figure may be as less at j27m due to the rise of vacant premises in the city, as well as an inability or refusal to pay.
Vacant buildings still provide a source of finance for City Hall – albeit 50 per cent less than an occupied building.
Other British chains stores that are due to make a decision on their future in Limerick in the coming months include Marks & Spencer, whom the Opera Centre developers hope will sign up to their j300m unbuilt development.