Irish retailers face threats and opportunities on Black Friday

More than €100m is expected to be spent by Christmas shoppers today...

Thousands of consumers will begin their Christmas shopping today. Black Friday has hit Irish retailers - with bargain hunters able to avail of huge discounts thanks to the day of sales which began in the US.

It's expected that €100m will be spent by shoppers in Ireland today in store and online.

Door-busting sales in physical stores are becoming a thing of the past however - as shoppers continue to migrant online. Currys PC World expects 90% of its sales to be online today.

Many retail outlets are now running promotions over a few days, as opposed to the original one day initiative.

Retail Ireland says that "this Christmas period promises to be the most consumer friendly in many years."

Its director Thomas Burke said: "This weekend signals the beginning of the real Christmas shopping period for many and Black Friday has become an increasingly important promotional window for retailers in recent years.

"Many retailers now take the opportunity to expand the promotional cycle into a week long event meaning consumers now have access to post Christmas sales prices in the run up to the festive period."

He adds that these sales push retailers margins to their limits: "While not necessarily good news for retailer's margins, it's great news for Irish consumers. Already prices are down almost 9% over the last 36 months and that trend is likely to continue over the coming months."

Irish retailers are under pressure today, as low sterling values are luring Irish shoppers to British e-commerce sites and apps.

"The emergence of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday pose both a threat and an opportunity for Irish retailers. While helping to drive footfall to stores and online platforms, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday phenomena also potentially displace purchasing decisions by consumers, resulting in potentially less activity closer to Christmas," Mr Burke continued.