Mixed reaction to the news that Dublin department stores will open for the first time on Saint Stephen's Day.

The retail sector is struggling with sales down for the years between 20-30 percent. Retailers have welcomed the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern signing an order banning the use of clauses in business leases which provide for upward only rent reviews.

Chief executive officer of Retail Excellence Ireland David Fitzsimons says upward only rents are putting many retailers out of business.

Those retailers still in business are doing everything possible to maximise sales and profits. Traditionally, shops close on Christmas Eve and do not open again until 27 December. However, department stores Arnotts Clerys and Brown Thomas, along with some British retailers, have decided to break with decades of tradition and open their doors to bargain-hunters on St Stephen’s Day.

Arnotts chief executive David Riddiford says they are opening on St Stephens Day because it is a Saturday, a good day to start a sale.

We’re expecting in excess of 50,000 people to come through the store on that day.

A retailer from Limerick interviewed on Dublin’s Henry Street is opposed to Sunday opening and also to St Stephen’s day trade as he thinks it is detrimental to family life.

A woman also echoes this opinion,

It’s a pity, I know there’s a recession on and I can understand it from the shops point of view, but not from a family point of view.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 December 2009. The reporter is Adrian Lydon.