HARD-pressed traders at Dundrum Town Centre are to be hit with a double whammy of rent and commercial rate rises.
More than 100 of the 140 businesses at the south Co Dublin shopping complex are facing rent hikes of up to 55pc.
Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is to demand increased rates -- with massive rises in some cases -- from retailers at the centre.
One businessman told the Herald that rises of 55pc would "absolutely" mean some companies would have to close down.
"It will mean trouble," he told the Herald.
He said there could be a "50pc increase in rents and a 50pc increase in rates in 2011".
"People are being squeezed out [of business]. You have a whole series of loss-making retailers that will close down or employ fewer people. Now it will just be the business owner standing behind the desk."
The retail director of another store said the unwillingness of landlords in general to reduce rents is "very disappointing".
The rent hikes in Dundrum will be implemented if a new arbitration finding is endorsed by management and tenants.
The shopping centre's landlord Crossridge had sought rent increases of up to 85pc.
However, when agreement could not be reached as part of the first five-year review, the management referred a number of cases to arbitration.
An independent arbitrator, Ray Lavelle of Jordan Auctioneers, has now recommended rent increases of 51.5pc and 55pc on Oasis and Coast.
A second arbitrator, David Gill, has yet to issue his findings in respect of a number of stores, including A/Wear and French Connection.
Crossridge did not comment when contacted.
However, Chartered Land, asset managers at Dundrum, said the new rents had been set following independent arbitration entered into by both the centre and the tenants.
It added that the new rents are 2010 market rents and "are up to 25pc lower than at the peak in 2007".
A spokeswoman for Dun Laoghaire council told the Herald that if businesses are unhappy with the rate valuations they can appeal the decisions.