Black Friday, floods, and "McGregor effect" defined 2015 Christmas shopping

Retail slowed through December as punters snapped up early deals

New figures show that Black Friday sales have been embraced by Irish retailers and shoppers, and led to a significant change in Christmas shopping patterns.

The Grant Thornton Retail Excellence Ireland Retail Productivity Review for the final quarter of 2015 found that sales were strong in most sectors, but demand was front-loaded, picking up that the end of November and start of December before tapering off through the month.

It is also noted that the periods just before and after Christmas were affected by adverse weather conditions as a serious of storms led to flooding across the country.

Retail excellence Ireland also pointed to an upswing in menswear sales - it calls this the "McGregor effect" as millennial males have been investing in their wardrobes, replicating the fashion conscious MMA star.

REI CEO David Fitzsimons commented on the figures: "Whilst Q4 2015 proved a robust trading period, in many retail sectors early momentum dissipated in December as inclement weather arrived and some areas were impacted by flooding.

"Grocery was the star performer in December recording like for like gains of 2.85%, the largest monthly increase in the Grocery sector since May 2012."

On the Black Friday trend, Mr Fitzsimons says, "It is clear that the Black Friday phenomenon is having a significant impact across many sectors and especially in Consumer Electronics. Black Friday led to a quieter October as consumers postpone spending, and a weaker post-Christmas sales period."