Business Irish

Sunday 25 August 2019

Christmas sales in Ireland start earlier than you think - and here's why

Retailers under pressure to pull in revenue after "volatile" quarter

Christmas Shoppers on Grafton St. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Christmas Shoppers on Grafton St. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

With the big day almost upon us, heading into the city for last-minute present shopping may be a very last resort for many consumers.

However, with Black Friday a distant memory, and people traffic lining the city streets, it's looks like the retail draw is still very much in force.

Not least of the attraction is the fact that many of the well-known departments have already begun to feature sales signs amongst the festive decorations.

"Much of the sales activity we’re seeing this week is being driven by a softer Christmas trading period with many sectors trading down on the same period last year," Lynn Drumgoole of Retail Excellence Ireland told independent.ie.

"Retail sales are continuing to be challenging. The last quarter has been volatile with the impact of Brexit, Trump, Black Friday and sterling exchange rate impacting the Christmas trading period."

While the more established stores maintain that the current discounts are mere 'mid-season sales' rather than their larger 'Winter Sale',  most of which begin on December 27; their stance has a knock-on effect on their smaller counterparts.

"Many of the pre-Christmas sales are driven by bigger brands which in turn puts pressure on smaller stores who are operating in the same area," said Ms Drumgoole.

However, the relatively mild weather has actually had a more positive impact on consumer spending this quarter, in contrast with previous years' cold snaps.

"Footfall is up on this time last year particularly in urban centres who were impacted in 2015 by severe inclement weather while shopping centre footfall is continuing to flatline," said Ms Drumgoole.

While many of the larger stores such as Brown Thomas, Debenhams, Arnotts and Marks & Spencer have been spotted reducing their prices some four days before Christmas Day itself, it might be best to wait just a few extra days to catch the real deals.

The Debenhams Half price sale starts online on December 24 and instore from Monday, December 26. This sale runs for 10 days in the store itself -  and 12 days online.

Meanwhile, the real Brown Thomas and BT2 Winter Sale starts in stores nationwide on St. Stephen’s Day with shops in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Dundrum and Blanchardstown opening at 9am.

For those not up to hitting the shops so soon after Christmas dinner, the winter sale reaches Brown Thomas online on Tuesday, December 27.

For Arnotts, the Winter Sale starts in-store and online on St Stephens Day, December 26 at 9am on the button including "fantastic reductions right across the store with up to 50pc of most departments".

"On the run up to Christmas there will be discounts on seasonal offers including gifting and beauty gift sets, along with Accessories and party wear with as much as 50pc of selected lines," Arnotts Managing Director Donald McDonald told independent.ie.

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