Sales might start next week... BEFORE Christmas

Christmas shopping predictions… and 11 shopping habits we’ve picked up this year.

RETAILERS MIGHT HAVE to resort to putting on their winter sales in the week BEFORE Christmas to get spending in shops moving.

Retail Excellence Ireland’s (REI) trading statement for the first two weeks of December notes that this weekend marks the start of “the Christmas rush”, especially as many people will have been paid this week. However, the group also claimed that consumer sentiment was at a low ebb and that the talk of austerity, potential withdrawal from the euro and the Budget itself had all contributed to the caution. In a section marked ‘Holding Your Nerve’, the organisation said:

The majority of retailers are deeply concerned that expected trading volumes have not materialised to date. A number of retailers are considering sale mid next week.

This week also saw Clery’s department store revealing that it had posted a loss of nearly €2m in the 12-month period up to end January 2011 – but that it hoped Christmas would be a busy time for the store compared to last year when it was hit by decreased footfall during the icy weather.

The REI statement has thrown up a few interesting nuggets about how we are spending this Christmas (all quotes taken directly from it):

Sales might start next week... BEFORE Christmas
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  • We're buying charm bracelets

    "As in 2010, charm products are still strong; however, this trend is negatively impacting on average transaction values." Pic: Marragem/
  • Functional, not frivolous

    "Functional gifts that can be used and worn are in demand; gifts for show and style are a thing of the past." Pic: davidd/
  • Secret Santa is bad for shops

    "The continued growth in popularity of Kris Kindle has had an obviously negative impact on gifting demand." Pic: Kevin Dooley/
  • Coats and boots sales are down

    "Many of the fashion and footwear retailers have found it very challenging to sell through winter ranges, especially coats, knitwear and boots, due to the period of clement winter weather experienced to date." Pic:Breibeest/
  • Smartphones on a high

    "Customer engagement with smart phones is at an all time high." Pic: twicepix/
  • No 'must-have bestseller'

    "Books/Toys/Games/Music: The sector is bereft of the latest craze or the must-have bestseller this Christmas." Pic: AP Photo of Cabbage Patch Kid from 1983
  • Back to basics

    "Many gifts of yesteryear, which lost favour in the Celtic tiger years, have come back into vogue. Dad can expect a few pairs of socks this Christmas." Pic: Jenn/
  • Trimming back

    "Many retailers and especially the food retailers have noted that consumers are content to purchase the basic core item and are happy to go without the trimmings." Pic: AP Photo/Matthew Mead
  • We're getting crafty

    "Art and craft sales have enjoyed a modest surge in the past 12 months, with increased footfall in many locations." Pic: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
  • Men buy last-minute hampers

    "The expectation is that beauty hamper sales will lift late next week as principally men make last-minute purchases." Pic: Alistair Wilson 50/PA Archive
  • Bargain-hunting on beer

    "Christmas consumers are engaged in price checking, especially for slabs of beer." Pic: AP Photo/Petr David Josek

Poll: Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?>

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