Some festive cheer left as the sales get off to a roaring start


Retailers are reporting a 10 per cent increase in business as the post-Christmas sales get under way.

For some stores, the sales began on Sunday. Most opened yesterday. Retailers agree there seems to be no shortage of spending power this week. Taken together with the pre-Christmas shopping spree, it is estimated that £660 million will be spent in Dublin by the New Year.

Ms Noreen Taylor, manageress of Thomas Pink Shirts in Dawson Street, Dublin, was very pleased with the amount of "footfall" yesterday. This is retailers' jargon for the number of feet coming in and out of a store. The owners of the feet buy things, like a women's cotton shirt - a snip at £62.50.

On the other side of the Liffey, Clerys was doing a roaring trade in woks, the Celtic Tiger in its multicultural diversity. Clerys spokeswoman Ms Bernadette Mullarkey admitted it was also selling a lot of saucepans and fashion items were moving briskly. She expects post-Christmas sales to be up by 10 per cent.

This Christmas sales season might have been invented by the retail trade. Unlike last year, the shops have a clear four-day run at parting customers from their money.

The Cat's Pajamas in Black rock, Co Dublin, sells children's clothes. "People have plenty of money left over after Christmas and they have their eye on something they want," says owner Ms Mary Hutch.

In Grafton Street, Thorntons was selling an essential food item, cappuccino chocolates, while outside Brown Thomas a young woman was selling The Big Issues.

Inside Brown Thomas the menswear department was not unlike Busaras on Friday evening as queues developed to buy Ralph Lauren (down 30 per cent) and Gucci (down 30-40 per cent).

A Cerrutti suit for £659 at Maurice Abrahams in South Anne Street can now be had - while stocks last - for £499.

At Les Jumelles in Galway, a Louise Kennedy suit is coming down from £574 to £405.

Gardai said traffic flowed more smoothly than usual around Dublin this Christmas, though it is acknowledged there were major difficulties on St Stephen's Green for the last broadcast of the Gay Byrne radio show on Christmas Eve.