Sunday 17 December 2017

Busy day reported for St Stephen's Day sales

Shoppers hit Brown Thomas for the St Stephen's Day sales Pic: Brown Thomas
Shoppers hit Brown Thomas for the St Stephen's Day sales Pic: Brown Thomas
Chief Executive of REI,David Fitzsimons
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Shoppers queued up from the early hours this morning to get a St Stephen's Day bargain.

Brown Thomas have reported a busy morning.

A snap posted online by the Grafton Street department store show shoppers descending on bargains on the ground floor.

It's understood shelves in their handbag section were almost cleared within 40 minutes of opening.

Other department stores - Arnotts, Clerys and Debenhams - also reported brisk business.

Traders were hoping for a post-Christmas boost today, with discounts of up to 70pc being applied.

Pre-Christmas sales were down on 2012 and retailers report that customers were finding it hard to break six years of cautious spending.

Adverse weather conditions, faults at bank machines and competition from online giants also hampered footfall and sales.

However, all of the major department stores and shopping centres around the country are expected to open today in an attempt to entice shoppers who may have postponed this year's spending sprees until the sales kick off.

Shoppers who are feeling particularly energetic can get up for the pre-dawn start of the sale at the Next chain of more than 20 stores nationwide. It is throwing open its doors at 6am.

Retailers will be hoping that the coming days show an improvement on slow sales in the pre-Christmas period, which saw footfall down 20-25pc on one key weekend as the country was buffeted by wind and rain.

Retail Excellence Ireland has reported that business this year is "marginally down" on 2012 but has forecast that the sales period will be "one of the best on record."

Its chief executive David Fitzsimons has said that the importance of the post-Christmas sales is "growing every year".

Mr Fitzsimons said many big brand stores had had pre-Christmas sales because of the difficult trading climate. This had happened before, but never to such an extent.

"Never as much in terms of the number of the retailers and also the depth of the discount," he said of the early sales.

Highlighting the importance of the post-Christmas sales to retailers, he said: "Three years ago you mightn't have had everyone open. This year you have every primary shopping centre in the country open."

Of the major department stores in the capital, Arnotts on Henry Street is starting its sale at 9am, with up to 50pc off on "leading brands" including Paul Costelloe, M Missoni, Love Moschino and Gerry Weber.

In homeware, Dorma bed linen is being included in the sale for the first time. Nearby Clerys -- recently renovated -- is open from 9am to 7pm today.

Brown Thomas is opening its stores in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway at 9am with up to 60pc off.

Deals include a Chloe Bridget shoulder bag, which was €1,115 and is now €557.50, KG London Belgravia shoes -- down to €119 from €305 and an Alexander McQueen iPhone case, which was €175 and is now €75.

Dundrum Town Centre will be open from 9am to 7pm, including its Marks and Spencer which is opening for the first time on St Stephen's Day. Next and Aldo are opening at 6am.

Elsewhere, Merchant's Quay Shopping Centre in Cork is open from 9am, with its Debenhams outlet opening at 8am, Galway Shopping Centre is open at 9am, Athlone Town Centre will also be open from 9am -- with certain shops open from 6am -- and Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge is opening at 11am.

Irish Independent

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