WATCH: Steady flow to St Stephen's Day sales as shoppers hope to bag a bargain
Mild weather and early openings allowed for a steady stream of shoppers to browse best bargains
Sprightly shoppers who dusted off the Christmas cobwebs to head out on the hunt for a bargain were rewarded today with a relatively stress-free trip into the St Stephen's Day sales.
Mild weather and early openings allowed for a steady stream of shoppers to browse the best bargains to be had at some of Ireland's busiest stores.
The anticipated sales at Brown Thomas kicked off at 9am with up to 50pc off designer women's and menswear, including footwear and handbags.
“The winter sale draws big crowds for us every year as customers look forward to incredible reductions," Stephen Sealey, Managing Director of Brown Thomas said.
"We have discounted very little throughout the year so this is a very genuine sale with great value across all of our departments.”
The winter store at Arnotts also kicked off at 9am with selected lines of footwear, women's clothing, accessories and homeware reduced by up to 50pc.
Managing Director Donald McDonald said: "After a very strong run up to Christmas, we are seeing an excellent start to the sale today and trading has exceeded our expectations.
"Our new beauty hall is busier than ever whilst our menswear and jewellery departments are in strong demand too. Our sales have surpassed last years both in-store and online."
But while the pleasant weather may have brought out the best of the bargain-hunters, a storm of controversy has been brewing between Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) and Met Éireann over 'alarmist' weather warnings they say had deterred people from venturing out to do their shopping on the run up to Christmas.
A yellow warning had been issued for Saturday, December 15, in relation to rainfall and wind countrywide, and was upgraded to orange for wind for a short period in different areas.
Met Éireann however defended its position, saying it issued warnings for public safety, and that they were based "on the best scientific evidence available at the time".
Fears over a bleak pre-Christmas trading performance led big names including House of Fraser, Debenhams, Gap, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Karen Millen to start discounting earlier than ever.
The rise of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, discount events held before Christmas, may also account for a less visible rush out to the Stephen's Day sales by encouraging shoppers to go online.
Retail Excellence expects shoppers to splash around €200m across Stephen's Day - with the bulk being spent on groceries and hospitality.