DESPITE the stormy weather that wreaked havoc across the county over the last week, traders in Tralee and Killarney enjoyed a bumper holiday season with shoppers out in force for the post Christmas sales.
Many shoppers stayed indoors on St Stephen's Day with high winds and driving rain putting a dampener on the opening day of the sales. However, from Friday afternoon shoppers made their presence felt on the streets with Tralee town centre businesses reporting an excellent weekend's trading and sales figures well above those seen last year.
In Manor West Retail Park, where businesses suffered less from the inclement weather, the sales got underway in earnest on St Stephen's Day with large crowds queuing from early morning for the sales to begin at some of the park's flagship stores.
Manor West Manager Derek Rusk said business has been brisk since the sales began. "It has been very good and there has been a good spend across all businesses. The bad weather on St Stephen's Day did have a bit of an impact but overall it has been a very strong trading period," he said.
Meanwhile, in Killarney businesses were enjoying a very happy New Year thanks to what retailers described as some of the best January sales of recent years.
Among those to open their doors to shoppers first on Friday morning were the two Kilkenny Group stores in Killarney. "Overall the sales this year have been very good, we are very happy with them. They are up on last year and the weather has had no noticeable affect on things as far as we can see," Greg O'Gorman said.
Elsewhere in Killarney at the Deerpark Retail Park parking was at a premium with sales at Marks & Spencer, Argos, Boots and Homebase, and according to manager of the World of Wonder toy store, Albert Shortt, shoppers are ready and willing to spend for the right price. "There is good footfall around the place, and there is still money out there," he added.
It was a similar situation in Kenmare where retailers took advantage of their busiest time of the Christmas season to get people spending. "There is always an influx of people from Cork and Dublin at this time, they come to spend a few days in Kenmare over the New Year, it is busier now than it was in the run up to Christmas," John O'Sullivan, of Kenmare Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said.
In Listowel, sales were only starting this week, but traders are hoping that business will be just as brisk as it was pre-Christmas, when the town experienced a great festive boom.
"The voucher scheme was absolutely fantastic and we actually sold out of vouchers the day before Christmas Eve," said Jennifer Scanlon of the Listowel Independent Traders.