Strong sterling brings UK shoppers to Kildare Village
Kildare Village is enjoying a surge in shoppers from mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, as the strong price of sterling plays into Irish retailers' hands in their key Christmas trading period.
Sterling is around 12pc stronger compared to the Euro this Christmas than it was in 2008.
"We have seen a major influx of shoppers from the UK and Northern Ireland; their pound is worth so much more this year," said Kildare Village business director Andrew Marshall.
Most Irish retailers are predicting that this Christmas will be their best since the beginning of the recession seven years ago. Peak visitors at Kildare Village are up 50pc in one year, Marshall said. The luxury outlet mall recorded its highest ever number of visitors in one day last month, around 30,000 people, up from around 20,000 people just a year before.
"It is difficult to produce a direct sales comparison because we opened several more stores in the village this year - but we are seeing strong, double-digit sales growth in comparable sales compared to last year," said Marshall, who took over responsibility for the sprawling retail campus from Maria McGovern in February.
He added: "Average spend per person has also increased significantly and the amount of time people spend with us is close to five hours now." Owner, Value Retail, is investing €50m in adding new brands and upgrading Kildare Village's facilities. The village added 15 new brands this year including Armani, Belstaff and a Swarovski watch station.
This winter's unseasonably warm weather has had a noticeable impact on shopping patterns, Marshall said.
"We saw good sales of outerwear in early November but that tailed off with the warm weather. Jewellery and accessories, on the other hand, are selling really well - you can see a definite uptick in consumer confidence there.
"Our sports brands are selling really well at the moment too; people are preparing for the January health kick earlier and earlier."
Sunday Indo Business