Bad weather is snow joke for struggling retailers

Beast from the East brings more woes for old-school businesses trying to stay alive

British electricals retailer Maplin joined Toys’R’Us UK in falling into administration this week. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

British electricals retailer Maplin joined Toys’R’Us UK in falling into administration this week. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

 

As if traditional retailers didn’t have enough problems contending with “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, the inclement weather has given rise to a couple of new online shopping bonanza days.

If you’ve been wondering what your colleagues were doing when they were “working” from home this week, chances are they were buying things they didn’t need from the internet.

According to An Post, the Beast from the East didn’t just force everyone to stay indoors, it also encouraged them to get their credit cards out with “Toasty Thursday” and “White Friday” leading to a surge in online sales.

If boredom persuaded some consumers to spend, it could be that others will also give in as traditional retailers seek to recoup revenues lost through store closures with special online offers over the coming days.

“We are seeing high volumes of sales from Irish and international retailers translating into packet and parcel volumes on our data systems” said Garrett Bridgeman, An Post managing director of mails and parcels.

Irish online fashions retailer Vavavoom was one of those looking to tempt consumers to go crazy with 20 per cent off everything for those using the code BEAST.

Offline cousins

“We’ve seen a 25 per cent spike in sales since the onset of the snow,” managing director Paddy King said. “The Beast has brought lots of business.”

The bad weather may be great for online retailers but less so for their offline cousins, many of whom are struggling to stay in business. Just this week both Toys R US and Maplin went to the wall, while a few days earlier, Walton’s announced it was closing its music shop in Dublin city centre.

It’s no joke for businesses counting the cost of the bad weather when they are already finding it hard to balance the books.