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The teachers' strike day was the busiest pre-Christmas shopping day this year

Overall though, sales have been disappointing in December 2014.

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Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated 12.44 pm

SPENDING THIS CHRISTMAS is only marginally up on last year, disappointing retailers that were expecting a greater bump in sales.

Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) says, as a result of these slower than expected sales, “major discounting” is likely in the post-Christmas period as retailers seek to reduce stock levels.

The research by largest retail industry body found that the busiest day in the run up to Christmas 2014 was 2 December, when the secondary school teachers strike coincided with this month’s children’s allowance payments.

Despite this, REI’s Seán Murphy says that “trading failed to ignite across Ireland” over the last few days in the Christmas run-up.

“Christmas 2014 will trade marginally up on Christmas 2013,” he estimates. “It would seem that while all the indicators pointed to a vibrant Christmas 2014, the fact is that seven years of frugality is a hard habit to break.”

Christmas findings from REI

Home for Christmas

Provincial Ireland enjoyed a reasonable increase as returning emigrants boosted sales.

DAA Charity Christmas Jumpers Day Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Giving experiences

More and more people are gifting experiences rather than off- the-shelf retail presents.

World Record Skydive - All-Female Skydivers Practice - Eloy, America Source: AP/Press Association Images

Quality over quantity

There’s a a notable decrease in the number of items purchased this Christmas with people preferring to ‘buy less, but buy better’.

Christmas Scenes Shoppers Source: Photocall Ireland

Frozen

The most popular toy of 2014. Simples.

Letters to Santa Source: Niall Carson

Self-gifting

Many retailers are reporting that people are indulging in more discretionary spending on themselves this Christmas.

shutterstock_179311739 Source: Shutterstock/EpicStockMedia

Home decorations

REI say there’s been a noted return to people getting the house set for Christmas.

'House O Christmas' - London Source: Jeff Moore/EMPICS Entertainment

Predicting the sales

REI is predicting that, because of slower than expected pre-Christmas splurging, the New Year sales period will be “one of the best on record”.

Most online retailers are expect to begin sales on Christmas Day itself with more “big ticket” items like home improvement purchases expected to be bought later in the month.

Read the full REI report here >

- First published 7am

Read: Who won the trolley wars in the run-up to Christmas? You did >

Read: Marks & Spencer on Grafton St evacuated over “false alarm” >

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