Shops plan longer hours and in-store promotions to drive festive season sales
Retailers are set to operate longer opening hours and offer in-store promotions and events to lure customers inside and drive more physical sales this Christmas.
More shopping will be done online this year than ever before, with the value of sales over the internet expected to be around €5bn.
The seasonal shopping will begin in earnest from next weekend with November 27 this year dubbed 'Black Friday'. Two days later will see 'Cyber Monday', the day the more internet-savvy shoppers hunt for the best deals.
However, online sales still only account for 10pc of all Christmas shopping, one of the lowest percentages in Europe, as Irish customers continue to favour buying presents in shopping centres and on the high street, according to Retail Excellence Ireland chief executive David Fitzsimons.
"Generally, what retailers are doing is using their bricks and mortar store to bring goods to life. If you're just selling a product on a shelf at a price, it's not good enough because that is online. What you're seeing now is the likes of pharmacies offering advice and other services in store," he said.
"Garden centres might bring plants and cherubs to the front of the store and might do talks on how to grow them as well. Bricks and mortar stores know they have to wrap the product up in something and this is why you'll see different in-store events and promotions going on. Customers respond to that."
Among the shops that are extending their opening hours is toy store giant Smyths, which will be open until 11pm Monday to Friday once again this year.
The store said that since it extended its hours, more people, particularly parents, had benefited.
"The longer hours are there to make parents' lives that bit easier. Once the little ones have gone to bed, they can get someone to mind them and pop in and do some late-night shopping. It's always very popular," a Smyths spokesperson said.
Arnotts in Dublin is also open for longer hours, and will run a "Christmas Mega Event" next week, and have a number of pop-up shops in store during the Christmas season.