Retailers set to count the cost of a white December

Adelina Campos

A WHITE Christmas could hit Dublin's retail trade -- as shoppers stay indoors instead of venturing outside to socialise and shop for gifts.

The weeks leading up to Christmas are traditionally the most profitable for shops as they expect to take as much as 30pc of their annual takings during the "golden quarter".

However, Irish retailers could face their worst year yet if this second wave of heavy snow keeps people at home and prevents them from spending an expected €2.75bn on services and festive goods.

"The Christmas period is the peak of the year and is critical for the retail sector," director of Retail Ireland Torlach Denihan said.

"We have had a difficult year and it would be very damaging if we had a repeat of what we had two weeks ago.

"What we hoped would happen is that purchases that weren't being bought then would happen last week, this week and next week.

"But if we get a repeat of the bad weather, that would be devastating because purchases would not be made as the end-point is Christmas Eve."

The association, which represents 3,000 retailers, is calling on shops, property owners and councils to clear pavements of snow so consumers are more likely to venture outside and shop in safety.

Shopping centres have their own snowploughs and gritters to ensure that shoppers are not kept away. Tesco has eight snowploughs to keep its car parks clear.