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St Patrick's Day to hit Irish trading

Retailers in Dublin have been forced to change their opening hours this weekend, as St Patrick's Day celebrations mean limited trading on the key shopping day before Mothering Sunday.

It is customary for stores in the Republic of Ireland to close on the national St Patrick's Day. But this year it falls on a Saturday, meaning retailers risk losing out on more than EUR23 million (£15.8m) of sales driven by Mother's Day footfall, according to trade body Retail Ireland.

Chains such as Marks & Spencer and landmark department stores Arnotts and Clerys in Dublin will close their doors on Saturday, as a St Patrick's Day parade packs the city and closes roads.

Arnotts will open late on Friday evening in an attempt to recoup the Mother's Day trade it will lose by closing on Saturday. Retail operations director Peter Scott said: "Having talked to customers and staff, there's a feeling that if you traded on Saturday you wouldn't do well out of it."

He added that the store was encouraging shoppers to buy in time for Mother's Day with in-store promotions and window displays.

But out-of-town fashion retailers said they were hoping to profit by offering an oasis from the chaos in the city. Out-of-town shopping centre Dundrum, near Dublin, is opening as usual.

Head of marketing Jayne O'Keeffe said: "We're gearing up for an incredibly busy weekend. St Patrick's Day has now become a drinking day, so some people don't want to be in the city centre."

M&S said it would close its Grafton Street and Mary Street stores in Dublin, but would not comment on how sales would be affected. The Brown Thomas department store will open at 2pm.

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