Marks & Spencer has dropped plans to open a shop at the €350m Opera Centre shopping mall which is planned for Limerick.

The scheme is half-owned by the state through nationalised Anglo Irish Bank, with the remainder owned by developers Jerry O'Reilly, David Courtney and Terry Sweeney. A spokeswoman said M&S does not "comment on store speculation" but two retail sources confirmed the decision.

The company had also planned to open in the Crescent shopping centre in Limerick but plans to expand that centre, which is owned by the Kenny family, were turned down in July by An Bord Pleanála.

Anglo acquired its stake in the Opera Centre in 2007 and planned to syndicate it to private clients but failed.

Meanwhile, Courtney and O'Reilly have been refused permission to develop an office block of up to eight storeys on the site of the Faculty Building at Shelbourne Road in Dublin 4. Their Kirmburn vehicle bought the site for just under €35.9m, or €95m an acre, then a record price.