Sales bonanza as our retailers ready to fight against online competition
Irish retailers are offering customers bumper sales in a bid to fight back against online retailers based in the UK and elsewhere abroad.
Shop owners around the country are giving deals and discounts to try and lure shoppers being targeted by aggressive marketing campaigns from retailers operating online.
It's understood that retailers in Ireland have been losing out around €14m every day due to online purchasing from the websites of companies who have no physical stores in the country.
Some €850,000 is being spent online every hour on retail in Ireland. However, latest figures show that more than €600,000 of this leaves the country.
Lorraine Higgins, deputy chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), said that Irish retailers were battling back.
She said that offering good value sales across the festive period was an attempt to win over shoppers drawn to buying clothes and technology over the Christmas holiday via their tablets and laptops.
"Irish retailers are a resilient bunch and a lot of retailers have offered deals, discounts and deductions on products in-store to compete with the online world, particularly UK stores," she said.
"It's clear Irish retailers are stepping up to the mark and are not taking this lying down. Consumer sentiment is relatively positive."
One particular element being focused on by Irish stores is a click-and-collect process, which is proving to be popular among consumers.
The system allows you to choose an item online, pay for it and then collect it at the store.
"What we've seen is a double-digit increase in click and collect," Ms Higgins said.
"People might be looking at what's on offer, they might opt to collect the product in store.
"They get the convenience of getting to preserve and to see the product."
As part of the fight-back, shopping centres in particular are looking to create experiences for shoppers in order to draw them in.
The general manager at Dundrum Town Centre, Don Nugent, said the Christmas period was a hugely busy time for their retailers. He said many of the shops in the centre will wait until today to go into "full sale mode".
"While fashion is the backbone of our business, our consumers often comment on the choice of food and beverage and leisure activities that Dundrum offers," Mr Nugent said.
"Retailers are offering great value as it is a very competitive market out there.
"The very mild weather has forced some brands to reprice some of their autumn/winter stock and there are great offers already available in stores.
"The deeper reductions are unlikely to happen until after Christmas but customers may not wish to risk not getting their sizes if they wait.
"St Stephen's Day is always a very busy shopping day in our annual calendar and this year is no different ... most of our retailers will not go into full sale mode until December 26," he added.