Busy sales ring in late festive cheer for embattled retailers
RETAILERS are reporting a massive boost in business as consumers hit the shops for the annual sales.
Among the bargain hunters that hit the shops early yesterday morning was MTV star Laura Whitmore, who surprised shoppers in Ruby Rouge, Gorey, Co Wexford.
Niamh Byrne, who owns the popular boutique, said that the television presenter is "a fan of the store" and that she picked up a dress in their 50pc-off sale.
Ruby Rouge opened its doors for its post-Christmas sale yesterday to scores of people queuing outside, and Ms Byrne said that "it was a lot busier" than any other year.
It was a view shared by stores around the country with David Fitzsimons, the chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, saying that retailers were reporting a huge boost on St Stephen's Day.
"It was a very positive day on St Stephen's Day -- it was the best in six years. Most retailers reported that sales were up by over 20pc.
"The day could not have gone any better with both footfall and spending significantly up on last year," he explained.
Anthony Ryan, the proprietor of the Galway-based department store which bears his name, said that the surge in shoppers over the past two days has been "an optimistic development".
"We started our sale on St Stephen's Day, and we had a very positive day. It was the best St Stephen's Day we ever had."
Edwina Gore, from the Limerick Chamber of Commerce, said that retailers in the city were satisfied with yesterday's shopping surge.
"I think the signs are more positive than they were last year. This year, retailers didn't need to start their sales before Christmas like they did in previous years, so that's always a good sign," she said.
"There does seem to be more optimism, and people did seem to start spending earlier this year."
However, the treacherous weather that battered the country seems to have drove shoppers indoors with AA Roadwatch reporting heavy traffic around both Dundrum and Mahon Point shopping centres in Dublin and Cork. Don Nugent, the director of Dundrum Town Centre, said they were forced to open the overflow car park in the complex shortly after 10am yesterday.
"It was a really busy two days here. The retailers are reporting a good uplift in sales in comparison to the same two days last year," he said. "People were out with their shopping lists -- they knew what they wanted. They were looking for value, not necessarily cheap, but good value for money and they were certainly getting it."
He revealed that almost 2,000 customers were waiting outside the Next store when it opened at 6am on St Stephen's Day.