Debenhams plans to open four new department stores and a clutch of boutique-style shops around the UK, including one in Birmingham.

The news came as the chain - which has a major outlet in Birmingham's Bullring and the Merry Hill Centre at Dudley, revealed it had secured the leasehold of nine Roches department stores in Ireland for 29 million euros (£19.6 million).

Debenhams said around 900 jobs would be created at the new shops at White City, Bury, Livingston and Newport in Gwent. The stores are on top of a pipeline of 21 UK shops it intends to open by 2011, which includes recently opened outlets in Doncaster and Workington.

It also confirmed smaller Desire stores will be trading before Christmas at Birmingham, Kirkcaldy in Scotland and Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.

The shops are aimed at market towns and offer a more select range of fashions, a perfume department and lingerie section, as well as a cafe. Another outlet will open in Walton-on-Thames by Easter next year. The roll out follows the early success of the chain in Truro, South Shields, Orpington and Falkirk.

Debenhams said it had secured the leasehold on nine Roches stores in Ireland. The firm, which intends to rebrand the stores within the next six months, said it expects the acquisition to be "earnings enhancing" by August 2008.

Chief executive Rob Templeman said: "There are significant opportunities to grow our department store portfolio across the UK and Republic of Ireland."

The company, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in May, currently has 135 shops in the UK and Ireland.

It incurred the wrath of unions last month after revealing it was set to close its final salary pension to both new and existing members.