Sales ‘one of the best ever’

This year’s sales are proving to be one of the best ever, according to retailers.

Brown Thomas Cork was practically sold out of bags by the end of its first day of sale and management said that menswear, in particular, was flying out the door.

Zara at Mahon Point in Cork said “sales were definitely up on previous years”. “Everything is selling well, really well,” said a spokesman.

Car parks were full to brimming at all the main shopping centres yesterday with retailers reporting a bumper Christmas for voucher sales, meaning that people were eager to spend the same vouchers as soon as Christmas was over.

Most stores with a strong online presence also reported a sharp hike in online shopping in the past few days. Marks & Spencer started its sales online on Christmas Day before its actual sale kicked off yesterday.

As ever, the ‘big ticket items’ like furniture are a big sell in the post-Christmas sale.

At the New Furniture Centre in Cork, the Barrys described the first day of their sale as “excellent”. Kieran Barry said people were “back buying” rather than spending day one pricing goods before returning on day two to purchase.

“We have just been flat out. You know when things are going well when you don’t have a second to talk to one another as it’s just pass the measuring tape, pass that book, pass this. No time to talk.”

At EZ Living, Caroline White said they were “really, really busy”. She said this year could yet be “our busiest sale ever”.

“We are delighted with it. Suites of furniture, in particular fabric suites, are flying out the door. Beds are also selling very well. It’s been bedlam. The carpark is jammed all day.”

David Casey of Casey’s Furniture in Cork said “we are very happy so far” with sales volume, while general manager of Brown Thomas Cork, Caroline Counihan, described footfall at the St Patrick’s St shop as “phenomenal”.

“We’re seeing a lot of people coming in with their gift cards today. On the first day of the sale, we saw a huge swoop on bags and so we’ve little left. We are also seeing a lot of young men in to buy clothes. Obviously, womenswear is also selling well but to be honest, overall we have well exceeded our expectations,” she said.

The Arnotts sale in Dublin began on St Stephen’s Day, with sales so far markedly up on Christmas 2011.

“We are seeing a large quantity of customers shopping for their homes with massive interest in our designer linen department. Cookware has also been trading extremely well and to date, Denby tableware has had the most ‘stand-out’ sales today,” said Karen Finnerty.

Debenhams Ireland said fragrances, coats and knits were selling “particularly well” and that online sales had been flying “with some shoppers even purchasing on Christmas Day”.

Savvy shopping tips

Sales shopping advice from the experts:

* All sales items must have been for sale in store for a reasonable amount of time, generally 28 days in the last three months, before it can be put on sale at a discounted price.

* Ask for the original full price of items if the former price isn’t listed.

* A retailer should highlight if goods are old stock, etc.

* Shopping experts warn that it’s a good idea to leave the credit card at home when sales shopping.

* Remember you still have full consumer rights if a sale-bought goods are damaged etc and this wasn’t highlighted at point of sale.

* Always ask what a shop’s returns policy is. If you change your mind on something and it works perfectly, their returns policy will decide whether you get your money back, or goods exchanged etc.

* Tips from the managing director of the European Consumer Centre, Tina Leonard

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