New looks give mad hatters a spring in their step
RECESSIONARY times have driven consumers to take a special interest in doing up their homes and upgrading their wardrobes with on-trend fashion accessories like shoes, hats and bags.
Springtime consumer trends were outlined yesterday by the House of Fraser department store, which is bucking the high-street trend of shop closures by launching a new recruitment programme, hiring 15 new staff to join its 430-strong workforce.
The store celebrated its fifth birthday in Dundrum Town Centre yesterday with an 'Alice in Wonderland' party.
But far from watching business going down the rabbit hole, the store's general manager, Jean Ann Taylor reports "a sustained and significant uplift in trading over the last seven weeks".
"There is an increase in consumer confidence and people are starting to spend more. They are still looking for value for money and quality at a price ... the trading buzz is definitely back," Ms Taylor added. The Dundrum store has sold more homeware products and bed linen than the 62 other House of Fraser stores across the globe.
Last night's party featured an auction of artist Graham Knuttel's painting 'Black Rum' for Tipperary Crystal, in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation, which fetched €20,000.
A mystery bidder started the ball rolling at €5,000 and the painting was finally knocked down to an anonymous phone bidder from Dublin who was buying it for his wife.