Friday 30 September 2016

Retailers gear up for bumper Christmas sales

Published 17/10/2015 | 02:30

Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street
Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street

Retailers are gearing up for a busy period in the run-up to the festive season, as the consumer-friendly Budget left some money for shopping.

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As Finance Minister Michael Noonan said workers would see the equivalent of an extra week's wage in their pockets at the end of next year after cuts to the controversial Universal Social Charge (USC) kick in next January, retailers are preparing for bumper Christmas sales due to the feel-good factor.

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, believes "there is a positive feeling out there" and he hopes the sector will have "a good Christmas".

Mr Cummins said that the 'Christmas season' in November and December was worth 30pc of their overall annual revenues and restaurants were hoping the party season would kick off in force next month.

"Four years ago, Christmas parties were frowned upon. There would have been companies that would have laid off staff, so it wouldn't have been appropriate to do so and all of that.

"That's all changed now. A lot of places are booked out for the dates coming up to Christmas. We feel that bounce already, a sense of positivity," he added.

David Fitzsimons from Retail Excellence Ireland said his members strongly welcomed the changes to the USC and that the changes affected "the mood of the nation" as well people's wallets.

Mr Fitzsimons said retailers were focused on planning for major sales promotions next month, including the American consumer events 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday', which have travelled across the Atlantic.

"Black Friday, November 27, will be as strong as ever, if not stronger. It's great for consumers," he added.

Irish Independent

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