Retailers ‘somewhat disappointed’ with Christmas trading

Online purchases and ‘Black Friday’ spending cited as shops report flat December sales

‘The reality of Christmas is, is that we all spend more money in December than we do at any other month of the year.’Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/File/PA Wire

Retail sales in the week leading up to Christmas have been “somewhat disappointing” with trading flat when compared to last year, industry body Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) has said.

In its Christmas trading statement, REI said more money, some €300 million, had been spent on websites with domains this month.

It also said a significant proportion of the expected Christmas spend was “sucked” up by the ‘Black Friday’ sales last month.

“Having experienced the most successful Black Friday ever, the momentum could not be sustained and retail sales dipped in the latter part of the month,” said David Fitzsimons, chief executive of REI.


The group, a not-for-profit organisation that involves 1,300 retail companies who operate some 12,000 stores in the Irish market, also said the fact that Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday would likely slow sales as a consequence of there being fewer public transport options.

The organisation said the trend was “somewhat disappointing” as businesses expected to see an increase in Christmas trading this year.

Keith Rogers, operations director with Echo Shoes Ireland, said the company had been working “much harder to stay the same” this Christmas.

“We’re finding that trade is up and it’s down. There’s low trends to it and definitely we’re having to work much harder to stay the same, but I would say the highs are very high and the lows are quite low,” he said.

“We had our biggest trading day in the history of our country on Black Friday. It was a phenomenal success and as it continued to be through that weekend, then there was a lull period for two weeks after that.”

He added: “The reality of Christmas is, is that we all spend more money in December than we do at any other month of the year but we don’t spend on ourselves, we gift purchase.

“And for us, we’re trying very hard to get in on the gift market, but shoes are difficult because people don’t like buying shoes for somebody else because it’s a personal thing. You don’t know the fit, the size, the this, that or the other.

“For us actually, the week after Christmas, from the 26th to the 31st, is our biggest trading week of the year and if we get it right next year, we’ll be okay for the month.”