ManU to open flagship store in Dublin

MANCHESTER UNITED is planning to capitalise on its large supporter base in the Republic of Ireland by opening a flagship store in Dublin.

The football club is seeking planning permission for an 8,000 square foot superstore, which would be the largest of its kind in the world - even dwarfing the shop at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.

The store, which should be open in time for the start of the next football season in August, will be based on an innovative new concept designed to give visitors the impression they are entering the stadium itself. It will also include a Reds Cafe.

The Dublin store is an early step in Manchester United's ambition to open 150 retail outlets around the world over the next three years. However, the Dublin development is likely to be one of the largest.

What's more the club, whose pounds 624m takeover by British Sky Broadcasting is under investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, is limiting the amount of cash it has to invest in the stores by signing up joint venture partners in the Middle East and Asia who will own and manage the outlets while licensing the brand from Manchester United.