Consumer sentiment strong depite weather
The rain didn’t stop Ireland's bargain hunters from taking part in the St Stephen's Day sales.
Deeper price cuts than last year and a less harsh than expected Budget made for a buoyant opening to the winter sales today, according to retailers. Around the State sales were reported to be busier than on the same day last year with consumers seeking “genuine value” on items they would get “real use” of.
David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said the next few days would be crucial for the sector and predicted big discounts across particularly ’big ticket’ items such as furniture and electronics, as well as on the ’big buys’ in clothing, such as coats and footwear .
“The sales are incredibly important,” he said.
Leesa Kavanagh, retail director of Arnotts, said the post-Christmas sales were almost as importnat as the run up to Christmas, in terms of their impact on end-of-year sales figures.
“It’s really imporantt we offer true vale, true savings to consumers to attract them in and make the sales.”
Though many stores, including Dunnes Stores, Shaw’s, McElhinneys and Marks and Spencers, don’t begin their sales until today, there was definite first-day-of-the sales air in the main Dublin shopping streets by mid-morning.
Among those first out of bed was Frank O’Neill who was standing with his young son in his arms amid several shopping bags at his feet, outside BT2 in Grafton Street. At 9.30 am he and his wife had been in town since 7am.
“We’re just over from Australia and the kids wouldn’t sleep last night so we just decided to come into the city.”
Originally from Ringsend, Dublin he said he had been in Australia for 20 years. Asked which outlet they hit first, he said: “McDonald’s. And then Next.”
By early afternoon the lime-green paper carrier bags of Next seemed to be in every second person’s clutches. The British clothing and home-wares retailer began its sale at 6am. It is renowned for having large price reductions.
Among the savings to be made in its Grafton Street branch yesterday were ladies’ tailored jackets down from €60 to €19, cardigans from €67 to €32, floral shift dresses from €81 to €32 and chiffon blouses from €34 to €15.
Stephen Seely, managing director of Brown Thomas was “very pleased” with the first day of its sale, saying there were a “couple of hundred people waiting outside” for the 9 am opening.
“We’ve gone for deep cuts straight away in the sale, of up to 60 per cent. We want to get stock moving, get the autumn/winter stock cleared so we can fill the store with new spring/summer stock.”
As usual, among the most popular across its Cork, Galway, Limerick and Dublin branches were handbags.
The Grafton Street accessories department was mobbed yesterday as tables piled high were inspected and sorted by mainly women looking for such items as a black leather Mulberry handbag, down from €810 to €567, or an Alexander McQueen Ipad holder, down from €235 to €164.50.