Pre-dawn risers queue for hours to bag sale bargains
THIS onslaught was planned with military precision.
As others were turning over in bed regretting slurping the last of the mulled wine, the savvy pre-dawn St Stephen's Day bargain hunters were out in force across the country with store plans in hand.
After barely a 24-hour respite from the spending splurge, there was a queue trailing out the doors of clothing retailer Next, at the Jervis Street Shopping Centre in Dublin, from 6am, as parents sought to snap up duffel coats and cosy cardigans for their children.
A few feet away, teenagers lounged outside River Island as they planned their moves to obtain high-street chic at bargain prices.
"What time were you queuing since?" the bleary-eyed security guard enquired.
"Only since 4.30am," came the chirpy response of Hayley Doyle (17), from Ballyfermot, Dublin, who was first in the queue. "I came in for a bag," the St Dominic's schoolgirl said, displaying her half-price €12 bargain black and leopardskin River Island bag.
"Oh, and some clothes for the winter."
Outside Arnotts, two Galway women near the top of the queue revealed they'd only taken up position 20 minutes before the 9am opening.
It was the handbag section that seemed to be the biggest draw with the early risers rushing to the Coach, Longchamp, Ralph Lauren and Guess offerings, while within seconds others were trying on some of the 30,000 pairs of shoes with up to 50pc off.
Browsing the store was Tanya Luciove (27), from Lithuania but living in Dublin. "I found a few good shoes for a good price," she said.
Retail director at Arnotts, Leesa Kavanagh, said: "The big surprise was menswear we had a lot more men out shopping from 9am this morning. That would be different as a trend. We'd normally see the men coming in for the afternoon. "Handbags have been flying, with Coach being the most popular brand. Ladies' Coach bags have doubled their sales on last year."
Shoppers seeking to get into Cork's biggest shopping centre at Mahon Point experienced long delays as the car park was full to over flowing. Queues were also reported outside shops on Opera Lane in the city centre.
Soundstore in Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork reported a steady stream of customers from when the shop opened at 11am yesterday. A spokeswoman for Soundstore said: "It is going well. It is bringing out a lot of people. There is a lot of hustle and bustle."
Debenhams, New Look and River Island in Cork city centre all opened at 8am yesterday and reported brisk sales.
David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland said the turnout for the entire Christmas season was "well ahead of expectations".
"It is also welcome to see a return of consumer confidence," he added.