Sisters Lean, left, and Lorna Caulfield from Bray at the sale in Brown Thomas in Dublin today Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Christmas shoppers and sales up on 2011 says Retail Excellence Ireland

Good news for retailers from the evidence so far on St Stephen’s Day says the retail representative body.

EARLY MORNING queues, the number of shoppers out in force today and anecdotal evidence from retailers suggests that sales in the retail sector are up overall this Christmas, according to Retail Excellence Ireland.

The country’s largest retail industry trade body, representing a thousand companies, says that early figures indicate that sales are up overall when compared to Christmas 2011.

Dozens of retailers including Arnotts, Awear, Brown Thomas, Clerys, Carraig Donn, Debenhams, DocMorris, Ecco Footwear, Euronics, Harvey Nichols, H&M, Harvey Norman and Shaws have opened this morning with up to 50 per cent off on some items.

“The weather isn’t helping but there are queues out the door and for fashion it’s insatiable the demand,” David Fitzsimons from REI told this afternoon.

He said that women especially are finding significant value in fashion outlets and they know that coming out to shop today “they are going are going to get an unbelievable bargain”.

Fitzsimons said that from speaking to a number of retailers this morning the exact spend so far was “hard to quantify” but he said that as it is a recession it “makes sense” that many would postpone usual pre-Christmas spending until the sales begin in order to get a bargain.

“Tomorrow is the big day for home,” he added. “Most of the sheds and consumer electronic companies – their big sale starts tomorrow.”

Overall retail sales have declined by 30 per cent in Ireland since 2008.

Before Christmas, REI said that retail sales were up last weekend for the first time in five years.

It cited improved consumer confidence after the Budget, the clement weather in the run-up to the festivities, Christmas being on a Tuesday and the increase in shoppers from the North as the reasons for this.

More: Early morning for eager shoppers as St Stephen’s Day sales begin

More: December retail sales ‘up for first time in five years’

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