Men boost Irish winter sales business

Shops report major growth over last year with record levels of males turning up for bargains

Zara: a long queue of bargain-hunters formed ahead of its 9am opening yesterday. Photograph:  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Zara: a long queue of bargain-hunters formed ahead of its 9am opening yesterday. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 01:01

Men appear to be out hunting for bargains in unusually high numbers in the winter sales, with several leading retailers expressing surprise at the numbers of male shoppers queuing outside their doors yesterday morning.

The marketing manager at the Dundrum Town Centre, JJ Jordan, described trading in some shops in the centre as “phenomenal”, with accessories and shoes in particular “walking out the door”.

There were more than 1,500 people queuing outside Next when it opened its doors at 6am, while a long queue also formed outside Zara ahead of its 9am opening.

“I have noticed a huge amount of men in the centre today,” Ms Jordan said. “There was a long queue outside Hollister and is was predominantly men lined up. Several of the menswear shops are also reporting really strong sales today.”

Upbeat mood
The managing director of Brown Thomas, Stephen Sealey, was also upbeat after the first day of the winter sales and said business had been brisk in all its outlets.

“The full week before Christmas was a lot slower than I would have liked but things really picked up in the last three days and I think we will finish slightly up on last year,” he said.

The retail director of Arnotts, Leesa Kavanagh, said the store had seen “double-digit growth” on last year and the tills had been “extremely busy”. “Men were out shopping much earlier than normal this year.”

Confidence growing
Chief executive of Mothercare Ireland David Ward said confidence had yet to return fully in the domestic economy but said the sales period would be better for consumers as a result.

His sentiment was echoed by Retail Excellence Ireland, which said 300 of its members reported a slightly lower level of trade this Christmas compared to last year. “Six years of cautious spending behaviour has become a hard habit to break,” said chief executive David Fitzsimons.

Shoppers started to queue outside the Next store at Opera Lane in Cork city at 2am yesterday. A spokeswoman said shoppers were primarily focused on the childcare range. “The St Stephen’s Day sale is getting bigger and bigger every year. It is just queue after queue.”