Video: Retailers hoping for boost as sales start

Shops expected to discount heavily in ‘bid to convert stock into cash’

Shoppers  queue outside the Brown Thomas store on Grafton St,  Dublin this morning. Photograph: Brown Thomas via Twitter

Shoppers queue outside the Brown Thomas store on Grafton St, Dublin this morning. Photograph: Brown Thomas via Twitter

Thu, Dec 26, 2013, 15:58

The St Stephen’s Day sales will see shoppers out in force today as retailers try to recover from a lower-than-expected spend in the run up to the 25th.

Retail Excellence Ireland claimed customers are being cautious and were keeping their cash for the sales.

The organisation’s chief executive David Fitzsimons said retailers are preparing to reduce prices by upwards of 70 per cent in the sales “in a bid to convert stock to cash”.

“Having contacted over 300 leading retailers nationwide over the past few days it is disappointing to confirm that retail sales are likely to be down marginally against Christmas 2012,” he said.

He said retailers were responding to retailer caution with significant discounts.”

A small number of bargain hunters queued outside stores before they opened this morning.

Outside Brown Thomas on Grafton St, Dublin, shoppers queued since 6am, three hours before the shop opened.

In England some keen bargain-hunters also started queuing before dawn to ensure they were first in line when the shops opened and some stores laid on food and entertainment to entertain those waiting in the cold.

Hundreds of shoppers surrounded Selfridges, where queues snaked around the huge shopping emporium on London’s Oxford Street.

There were separate queues for different brands and a significant security presence was in place to manage the crowd before doors opened at 9am.

Eyal Kedenfrom Israel, is in London on holiday and had been queueing since 6.30am.

“It’s amazing. We don’t have this in Israel,” the engineer said.

Mr Keden said he and his partner were on the lookout for bags and shoes and hoped to get a few bargains.

He said they did not come to London specifically for the sales, and that they were just “a bonus”.

Also in the queue was Wang Tianyi a student from China who is studying in Liverpool, and his girlfriend Sun Yeting.

The couple queued since 4am, and were rather cold four-and-a-half hours later.

“We don’t prepare very well,” Mr Tianyi joked, adding: “I’ve heard it’s crazy.”

The couple said they hope to pick up lots of gifts for their family, and said they will go straight for the luxury goods.

“We will buy the things we like,” Mr Tianyi said.

Additional reporting PA

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