Irish retailers start their Christmas sales early
Gap and Dorothy Perkins among the brands already offering significant discounts
Many of the traditional post-Christmas sales this year are actually starting pre-Christmas. File photograph: Hannah McKay/EPA
With Christmas coming earlier every year and Irish retailers apparently in perpetual sales mode, it is perhaps unsurprising that many of the traditional post-Christmas sales this year are actually starting pre-Christmas.
For example, Dorothy Perkins launched its winter sale on December 19th, a full week before Christmas Day.
The sale is set to run until “all the stock is gone”, or at least until all of the stock from last season is gone.
Meanwhile, clothing giant Gap has been discounting most of its stock by 40 per cent for the last 10 days or so, with some lines seeing even greater discounts.
In what may seem like an odd move, the sale looks set to end on Christmas Eve.
However, bargain-hunters need not fear, because another Gap sale will start on St Stephen’s Day.
Thomas Patrick Shoes on Dublin’s Grafton Street started its sale on December 20th, while Anthony Ryan’s department store, on Galway’s Shop Street, has also started its winter sale this year before Christmas.
The store started discounting stock on Wednesday. It will be opening for the post-Christmas sales at 10am on St Stephen’s Day.
“It has been a pretty soft Christmas in terms of overall sales and I think they are likely to be down on last year,” said Retail Excellence Ireland spokeswoman Lynn Drumgoole.
“Winter sales are starting early because retailers are looking to bring in revenue, but also I think consumers are more savvy and are looking more for more discounts,” she said
She also pointed to the lingering impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“A lot of bigger retailers and bigger brands would’ve gone into sales pre-Black Friday and then they would have just continued that on all the way up to Christmas.
“That tends to trickle down and it means smaller retailers need to follow suit if they are to compete.”
Another reason many retailers – particularly in the fashion business – have had no option but to start sales early is the weather, Ms Drumgoole said.
“The mild weather over the course of the winter so far has certainly had an impact, at least when it comes to the sale of winter jumpers, coats and boots. A lot of traders are looking now to move that stock on.”
A significant shift to online buying as a result of a weak sterling after the Brexit vote has also put pressure on indigenous retailers and multinationals in Irish town centres.
Parcel delivery companies have reported a sales surge by as much as 80 per cent in the run-up to Christmas, as at least two-thirds of the Republic’s online shoppers are spending their money outside of this jurisdiction.
This trend is likely to put more pressure on retailers to offer deeper discounts over the course of the winter sales.
First out of the blocks when it comes to the actual post-Christmas sales is likely to be clothing retailer Next.
Its staff will have to be at their stations at outlets across the Republic from before dawn on St Stephen’s Day, as doors open at 6am.
Debenhams launches its half-price sale online on Christmas Eve, followed by an in-store sale from 9am from Monday.
Brown Thomas and BT2 are taking the opposite approach, by launching their bricks and mortar sale first before following up with the online sale.
Doors open at all its outlets on St Stephen’s Day at 9am, with the online sale stating on Tuesday.
Arnotts will launch its online sale at midnight on Christmas Day and follow it up with an in-store sale nine hours later.
Anyone with a keen eye for a bargain and time on their hands on Christmas Day might find themselves logging on to the Argos website, where the sale kicks off in the virtual world a day before it starts in the physical one.
The Marks & Spencer winter sale starts online on Christmas Day, while the in-store sale starts on December 26th at 9am.
Mothercare will be starting its winter sale online on Christmas Day, while doors will open for its in-store sale at 8am on Monday morning.
The House of Fraser online sale will kick off on Christmas Eve and then in-store in its Dundrum Town Centre outlet at 9am on St Stephens’s Day.
However, there are some retailers who still give their staff the luxury of a two-day break until December 27th.
Shaws in Waterford will only reopen on Tuesday, as will all Avoca outlets across the country.