THE general consensus in South Kerry is that retail trade in the pre and post- Christmas periods will be on a par, if not slightly better than in previous years.
Mike Buckley, President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said the status quo looks to have been maintained this year in Killarney.
"Things don't seem to have disimproved but they are no better than last Christmas," Mr Buckley said. "People aren't waiting for the sales anymore. Because of the pre- Christmas sales, they are buying before Christmas now."
"The restaurants and publicans seem happy enough. Last Thursday and Friday nights were busy while Saturday was slack. It seems to have been hitand-miss."
Looking ahead to 2013, Mike Buckley said the local tourism sector is hopeful of an improved season: "Our gut feeling from operator feedback is that 2013 will be a good season, building on a strong end to 2012," he said.
Meanwhile in Kenmare, proprietor of award-winning shop, Soundz of Muzic, Kit Dunlop, said the general vibe was that business may have slightly improved, helped by the monthlong Nollaig Neidín festival.
"Shopping for Christmas in Kenmare is usually very late. Nollaig Neidin did help, but unfortunately the weather destroyed the Saturday before Christmas, plenty of people said that. There seems to have been a tad more confidence around," he remarked.
Looking ahead, Kit said retailers needed to remain optimistic.
"We don't have any option as retailers but to be cautiously optimistic and keep plugging away at it. Trying harder and harder is my take on it and squeezing that gap between profit margin and expenses," Kit added.