Busiest day in six years for Irish stores on St Stephen's Day
IT was the busiest St Stephen's Day in six years for Irish stores - with sales up by 20 per cent, according to a retail group.
Retail Excellence Ireland released the figures today.
It was sheer pandemonium on Dublin's Grafton Street yesterday as thousands of shoppers took to the high streets in search of post-Christmas bargains.
Hundreds of people queued at all five entrances to luxury department store Brown Thomas to be the first in the door when the sale officially began at 9am.
As the doors swung open, a stampede of bargain-hunters made a beeline for the accessories department where luxury brands like Prada and Michael Kors handbags were marked down by 40pc.
Some determined shoppers even got up in the middle of the night last night in order to be among the first people in the doors.
Cindy Yu, 30, who is originally from China got up at 3:30am and drove to Dublin from Dundalk in order to get a jump on the sales.
"It's crazy," she said.
Armed with a credit card and budget of several hundred euro, the childminder was among a throng of shoppers snapping up three or four Michael Kors handbags at a time.
"It's good value and I need a handbag anyway," she said.
Brown Thomas Managing Director Stephen Sealey said many of the customers are Chinese ex-patriates looking to snap up a bargain for the Chinese New Year on January 31.
Others were seeking out reductions of up to 65pc on women and men's fashion and 50pc off accessories, he said.
Around 200 customers queued outside Arnott's department store on Abbey Street when its sale also kicked off at 9am.
The pace, however, was a bit more relaxed as shoppers sought out bargains of up to 50pc on some leading brand name fashions, including Paul Costello and Gerry Weber.
Over at the store's "Shoe Garden", Trinity College dental student Laura Gibney, (21), from Booterstown, was searching for a pair of black knee-high boots but insisted she wouldn't buy anything "just because it's on sale."
"There are some reasonable deals but it's not fantastic," she said.