Retailers hope punters will put a spring in their step
THE clue is in the hemlines, and as they go up for summer, so too do the hopes of city centre retailers.
The question is whether this season's key fashionable trends, designer labels and holiday wear will tempt style-conscious punters to open their wallets and spend some of the €700bn they have in personal savings.
Dublin streets yesterday turned into a fashionable catwalk as representatives of the capital's 4,000 shops and 10 department stores and shopping centres celebrated the best in their spring-summer fashion.
There was an upbeat vibe to the colours and hemlines and Tom Coffey, chief executive of the Dublin City Business Association (DCBA), confirmed positive signs at either side of the market.
"There seems to be a little bit of a lift. It's not huge, but it's there."
Commenting on recession spending trends, Mr Coffey said: "It's definitely good at the value end of the market. Penneys are doing really well and it's beginning to be good at the top end of the market. BT are doing well, they are quite happy. It's good at both ends."
While the middle section of the market was always squeezed where there was a tightening up of disposable spending, the DCBA chief pointed to a potential upturn in spending when Irish consumers got the confidence.
Improving indicators include Penneys increasing salaries by 3.5pc and recruitment programmes starting again. "People are beginning to re-hire so that is a good sign. I think this is just the very beginning of the recovery, but it's going to take some years," Mr Coffey added. One of the telltale retail signs for the consumer is cutbacks on buying and tight stockrooms, which means fashions are not going to be on the rails for long.
The 'here today, gone tomorrow' trend may prove an incentive for customers to spend in the coming weeks as parents buy for the traditional confirmation/communion season as well as the racing season and holidays.