Christmas shopping: Major Irish stores will open the day after Christmas for the first time ever in a bid to lure back recession-weary shoppers

Irish department stores in Cork and Dublin will open the day after Christmas for the first time ever because of the recession.

Major stores such as Brown Thomas, Clery's and Arnotts will open their doors on December 26, also known as St Stephen's Day, to try and lure recession-weary shoppers.

Retailers have seen double digit declines in sales this year. Many shoppers have just baled out of the Republic and gone to Northern Ireland and even New York to avail of the favorable exchange rate and cheaper goods.

Arnotts chief executive David Riddiford confirmed that the break in tradition was a response to poor sales.

"In the current economic climate, we have to do everything we can to maximize sales and profit to ensure our long-term viability. Arnotts’ staff have been asked to volunteer to work that day and will be paid double time," he said.

Riddiford is clearly hoping to emulate the success in Britain where retailers have seen sales increase by 50 percent by opening on Dec. 26.

The 26th of December is traditionally know as St Stephens Day in Ireland and Boxing Day in Britain. As there is plenty of sports shown on TV that day Mr Riddiford announced his plans for large screens to be erected in store, showing the games and quipped that, "The men can watch football while the wife goes shopping."