The faint jingle of Santa’s departing sleigh bells was replaced by a chorus of cash registers ringing across the country, as shoppers took to the St Stephen’s Day sales in search of discounted deals.
Bargain-hunters queued outside department stores ahead of early openings this morning - with the retail industry hoping for a bonanza sales rush in order to meet projections for the month.
Retail Ireland said a robust performance in the post-Christmas period would be needed to meet expectations.
Earlier predictions forecasted a rise in consumer spending in the region of 3% over the festive season, which would boost sales by more than €150m this month.
Mark Limby, stores director with Brown Thomas, said there was a marked difference in the approach to the sales by shoppers visiting its Dublin store, compared to those in Cork, Galway, and Limerick.
“In Cork, for example, we would see a steady stream of customers throughout the day, whereas in Dublin it is much more front-loaded, more customers queue to get in from opening,” he said.
Mr Limby said staff estimate that 2,000 customers entered the Dublin Brown Thomas store in the first 15 minutes of trading this morning
He also noted the changing demographics of the sales shopper and said two-thirds of those in store in Dublin were young men looking for discounts on clothing ranges such as Stone Island and Canada Goose.
Mr Limby said young menswear was also proving popular in Cork, as were women’s accessories such as Mulberry.
Rixo, a womenswear brand that is a recent addition to Brown Thomas, was also proving a popular draw in the company’s Cork store on St Patrick’s Street.
The Brown Thomas website offered ‘online previews’ of the discounts that were available in-store only, and a number of brands saw half-price reductions.
In the capital, Arnotts’ managing director Donald McDonald said they have had a strong start to its Winter Sale.
“After a very strong run-up to Christmas, we are seeing an excellent start to the sale and trading has exceeded our expectations,” Mr McDonald said.
“Our new beauty hall is busier than ever whilst our menswear and jewellery departments are in strong demand too. Our sales have surpassed last years both in-store and online,” he said.
Shoppers scouring the Henry Street store bagged deals on ladies wear brands such as Tara Jarmon, Set, Michael by Michael Kors and Essentiel Antwerp which all offered up to 50% off.
Accessory brands such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade and DKNY were all discounted by up to 50%.
Deals on menswear saw prices on selected styles from Strellson and Selected reduced by up to 50%, while the price tags on selected lines in Gagliardi, Richard James and Calvin Klein were down by 30%.
Kids’ clothing was also had price cuts of up to 50% in many cases, while in homewear the likes of Le Creuset, Jamie Oliver and Denby were reduced by up to half off, while cookware sets from Stellar and Meyer saw a price drop of up to 70%.
Debenhams’ sale started online on December 23, and in-store on St Stephen’s Day, with discounts of up to 50% on products across a number of departments.
The sales were not limited to large department stores peddling luxury brands - discount retailer Dealz also unveiled its St Stephen’s Day offerings, with many items reduced to just 75 cent.