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International retailers vie for space in Clerys

Clerys has this morning shut down its website after it emerged that people could still buy gift cards on it days after the iconic store shut its doors last Friday.

Gift cards with values of €100 were still available yesterday on the site which did not declare that the store had ceased trading after going into liquidation.

The website - which boasted "We're open with a beautifully refreshed store! Come and join us" - was still operational early this morning but was shut down by 11am.


While nobody can now buy new gift cards, Dermot Jewell of the Consumers' Association of Ireland has said those who already have gift cards or paid deposits on goods at the store are in a difficult situation, adding that the only real hope was if they had paid by credit card.

Meanwhile, any changes to the department store will have to be decided by planning authorities, but experts say dozens of international retailers are already eyeing up space in the building.

Sources told the Herald the new owners hope to refurbish the site - including opening the rear of the building on to Marlborough Street - which is set for a major revamp thanks to the new Luas tram line that will connect the property with Grafton Street.

The idea is to develop a high-end space for large retailers as well as office and leisure facilities in the historic building.

The store was dramatically shut on Friday, hours after being bought by new owners led by Irish investor Deirdre Foley's D2 Private.

They have remained tight-lipped about their plans for the site, but the appointment of liquidators to the company that operated the store has been widely condemned after 460 people immediately lost their jobs.

Tanaiste Joan Burton described the treatment of workers, many with decades of service behind them, as "absolutely despicable".

It emerged last night that Ms Burton has asked her officials to convene a briefing for the shell-shocked former employees to help them in securing their statutory benefits and to ensure they receive all the welfare assist- ance that is available.

Separately, junior jobs minister Ged Nash has said he will contact the liquidator to see if anything can be done for them.

Mr Nash has been in regular contact with unions and has decided to make contact with liquidator Kieran Wallace of KPMG to explore any avenues which may be of benefit to former staff.

Mr Nash and the Government was "appalled" by the poor treatment of the workers who lost their jobs with little or no notice.