Spending down 10% but shoppers will still splash out €13m an hour

SHOPPERS will splash out more than €13 million every hour today but retailers say spend is down about 10% since last year.

Bad weather meant less people travelled to the North for their shopping over the last few days resulting in a pre-Christmas boost for border stores.

Electrical sales have taken a big hit over the last 10 days, falling 22%. Pharmacy sales are down 16% while toy sales are 6% lower.

This is according to figures complied by Retail Excellence Ireland. The group, which represents the country’s retailers said today will be a very busy day on the streets as people have left it later than usual to do their shopping this year in the hope of bagging some last minute deals.

Chief executive of REI David Fitzsimons said: “People were really nervous in the first two weeks of December and they weren’t spending. After the budget there was a pick-up and since last Thursday there has been a surge in sales.

“The weather hasn’t helped this year. It has however meant that people planning on heading across the border for shopping didn’t bother so shops south of the border will have benefited.”

Tesco said alcohol sales in its border stores are up this week. Sales in all its Irish stores are up on last year.

Small business group ISME said around €120m is likely be spent by shoppers each day in the run up to Christmas. Chief executive Mark Fielding said some stores are reporting sales are down between 40%-50%.

“There has been a pick-up in the last few days and we have seen a smile back on the face of retailers but overall it has not been a great Christmas,” he said.

There has been less of a spend on premium items this year and a move to lower cost products, according to Mr Fitzsimons. He said sales of ladies clothes has been “shockingly bad” this year but menswear had performed well, especially over the last few days.

Many stores have started their sales and this will result in some running out of stock over the coming days, according to Mr Fitzsimons.


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