Retailers expecting 'late surge' around Christmas

Christmas season sales are expected to top €4.5bn

Retailers expecting 'late surge' around Christmas

File photo shows Christmas shoppers with H&M bags on Grafton Street in Dublin | Image: Photo:/

Retail Ireland says retailers are bracing themselves for a late surge over the coming days.

The Ibec group that represents the sector says with Christmas Day falling on a Monday this year, retailers expect a flurry of activity this weekend.

It says reports of brisk trading in recent days "gives rise to hope" that earlier positive expectations can be realised before the end of the year.

Irish retailers transact as much as 30% of their turnover in a little under six weeks around the Christmas period.

In its recently published Christmas Retail Monitor 2017, Retail Ireland predicts that Irish households will spend an average of €2,654 in shops this December - some €870 more than any other month this year.

This is also roughly 2.6% more than Christmas last year.

The monitor predicts an increase in total sales of over €100m, with sales over the Christmas season expected to top €4.5bn - up from €4.4bn in 2016.

But it says with a greater number of Irish shoppers now choosing to shop on foreign websites, the challenge for Irish retailers "will be to ensure that this buoyancy is felt locally and that Irish based retailers benefit from this anticipated additional spending."

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said: "As we flagged earlier this month, rising disposable incomes, more people at work, and falling prices were a cause for optimism amongst Irish consumers in advance of Christmas 2017, and thus far this positivity has been reflected in activity in store.

"Driven by intense competition in the sector in recent weeks, consumers’ greater spending power has led to an air of even greater positivity, with the challenge for Irish retailers being to convince Irish consumers to move away from foreign based retail websites and to shop domestically.

"Ongoing low prices in Irish stores will help in that regard, and initial reports would suggest slow and steady, if not spectacular, growth on Christmas 2016."