A survey of eight large Dublin retailers, which operate more than 60 outlets, has found that many are facing an increase in their annual rates bill next year of between 30% and 80%.

Retail Ireland, part of IBEC, has said the increase in commercial rates is unacceptable.

The group said that retail sales have fallen by 25% in recent years, and tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as a result.

Director of Retail Ireland Stephen Lynam said the increases in rates are not sustainable and said they will result in more job losses.

"If Dublin city centre is to have a thriving retail sector, it must be conscious of the need to keep costs down for retailers, large and small. Retail Ireland will this week be contacting the Dublin City Manager and the Lord Mayor to raise the serious concerns of the city's retailers on the issue," he stated.

Brown Thomas Managing Director Stephen Sealy said the company will have to examine the value for money of council services after increased council rates were announced.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Mr Sealy said rates are set to be 47% higher for the Grafton Street store, which he said "just isn't sustainable".

He also said that Brown Thomas would now have to examine the number of people working for the business.

He said: "Clearly this is a cost that we weren't expecting, an increase of this level, so we will need to look very carefully at employment levels across the business and all costs across the business.

"As a rate payer we have to look at the city environment and what we're getting for the money, and to look at the built environment around us and the job the council does in maintaining that, so it's not only the money we're paying; it's the value for money we're getting for what we pay.

"Well clearly Grafton Street is in the middle of the repaving [project] at the moment, but up until that project started the maintenance of the street has been poor, the cleaning has been poor, it has not been maintained as an attractive shopping environment, and clearly that impacts people's decision: 'Will we go to the city centre, will we go to a shopping mall?'"

Mr Sealy said that business has fallen by 20-25% from the peak, with a severe effect on profitability, and the proposed rates increase is completely out of line with growth.