Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), an industry lobby group, is predicting that sales this December will be up on last year but will fail to spike in the manner predicted just a few weeks ago.
In its Christmas trading statement derived from interviews with 300 retailers, REI says that the weekend of November 28th to December 1st, incorporating “Black Friday” to “Cyber Monday”, was the “busiest weekend in many years”.
It says retail sales have since failed to maintain the momentum.
Sean Murphy, deputy chief executive of REI, said: "In the context of improving consumer sentiment, lower unemployment rates and the reinstatement of part of the social welfare Christmas bonus, it is fair to say that most [retailers] would have expected better."
REI said the recent marches against water charges on December 10th, which brought upwards of 30,000 protestors onto the streets, cost some city centre retailers up to 50 per cent of their day’s takings.
The lobby group said online sales are “significantly up”, with another spike expected on Christmas Day, which it says has become a “significant online shopping day”.
Margins for many retailers are down, according to the report, because of heavy advertising in the run-up to Christmas.