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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Debenhams beefs up Irish presence
Debenhams store on London's Oxford Street
The deal will mean Debenhams has 135 stores in the UK and Ireland
Department store Debenhams has beefed up its presence in the Republic of Ireland in a 29m euro (19.6m) deal.

Under the deal, the retailer bought the leasehold of nine Roches department stores in Ireland which it will rebrand as Debenhams over the next six months.

The group also said it planned to open four new department stores and a number of "boutique" stores across the UK.

It added that about 900 jobs would be created at the new shops in White City, Bury, Livingston and Newport in Gwent.

The latest openings will come on top of a raft of 21 openings the group has planned by 2011.

Following the successful trial of the group's smaller Desire format - which sells more select fashions, lingerie and perfumes - the group will be opening new stores in Birmingham, Kirkcaldy in Scotland, Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and Walton-on-Thames.

Debenhams said it expected its newly acquired Irish stores - in locations including Cork, Dublin and Waterford - to be earnings enhancing by 2008.

"There are significant opportunities to grow our department store portfolio across the UK and Republic of Ireland," said chief executive Rob Templeman.

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