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handbags at dawn

'I could lose the run of myself': We talked to the early risers queuing outside Brown Thomas

While you were sleeping, these enthusiastic shoppers were lining up on Grafton St.

37  Brown Thomas Sales_90532963 Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

THREE GARDAÍ DROVE up in an unmarked car shortly before 8.45am to keep an eye on proceedings.

A red-jacketed Brown Thomas staff member attempted to reason with a group of four teenage boys lurking outside the McDonalds across the road.

“You can’t just jump the queue, you’ll have to move,” she quietly implored. (They moved).

20171226_084541 Ashley Fleming, Sinead Connery and friends outside Brown Thomas this morning. Daragh Brophy / Daragh Brophy / /

On an otherwise quiet (and cold) morning in Dublin, all the action seemed to centre on the doors of the Grafton Street department store.

Other shops in the city, and, of course, in shopping centres around the country are also opening for the winter sales.

The largest crowd in Dublin, however, was at Brown Thomas.

300 strong crowd 

A press release from the chain boasted of “deep reductions” of up to 50% during their “quick sharp sale”.

A crowd of around 300 had gathered by the time security staff threw open the main doors at 9.

Some of the shoppers had been up out of bed as early as 5.30am to reserve a place.

Cillian Shanley from Malahide, who was among the first to arrive on Grafton Street with his group of friends, said he was in search of a pair of Valentino Runners.

“Just run,” he offered, when asked for advice on how to compete for the bargains.

It was his first time queueing for the sales, he said – but he had his route planned all the same.

Straight downstairs and into the right.

Behind him, Ashley Fleming from Finglas said a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes was top of her list, but added:

“It’s the luck of the draw – if we get in and they have them, they have them. But they usually do.”

She’d be heading “straight up to the first floor,” she said.

Her advice? “Definitely run – and know where you’re going because the minute these doors open it’s like a stampede.”

There’s no point in wandering into the store at 10.30 or 11 if you’re after something specific, she said.

“You need to be in – if it’s something specific and obviously the more expensive the brand, you need to get in.”

Arnotts Christmas Sale 0048 There was also a large queue outside Arnotts on Henry Street. Michael Chester Michael Chester

Sinead Connery, who joined the queue alongside Ashley at around 7am, said she was on the hunt for a Marc Jacobs handbag.

I’d say I could lose the run of myself when I actually get in here with the excitement.

In the final minutes before 9am struck, dozens more people rushed up to join the queues.

Once inside, there was some running – but not much. The large store easily absorbed the crowd, and the scene had settled down within a few minutes.

Business group Retail Ireland said this morning that many stores would rely on trade during the winter sales in order to meet their targets.

“Sales will likely remain somewhat off the 2007 peak, and for some retailers it will be a close run thing, with the performance in days immediately post-Christmas, and the January sales, likely to be crucial in terms of the final outcome,” said Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke.

Read: The cold weather will be sticking around until the weekend >

Read: ‘Dramatic’ warnings, contradictory forecasts and irritating ads: Complaints sent to Met Éireann >

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