Footwear retailing giant Foot Locker Inc has announced plans to expand into the Irish market, with up to 12 stores to be opened in the next three years.

The New York-based company, which currently operates more than 3600 retail outlets worldwide, said it expected to open its first Republic of Ireland store early next year.

"We believe Ireland can easily support ten to 12 stores over the next two to three years," a Foot Locker spokesperson said.

"We will be beginning that process in the first quarter of next year."

The company is currently in discussions with estate agents over the lease of properties in prime commercial sites throughout the country.