Retailers jolly as Christmas spending set to rise

A number of Irish retailers have expressed positivity in the run-up to the Christmas period, as a leading industry group predicts festive spending to rise three per cent.

Trade representation body, Retail Ireland, predicted Irish households will spend an average of €2,587 this December, approximately €720 more than any other month of the year, and €26 more than last Christmas.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said: “While retail sales growth has softened in recent weeks, retailers remain optimistic. More people at work, a rise in disposable incomes and falling prices should lift the consumer mood and translate into increased sales.”

Speaking to Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer, a number of retailers and forecourt owners expressed considerable positivity as the festive season got underway.

Gavin Moran, manager of Junction 14 Mayfield projected a strong performance for the site: “Christmas has been really good,” he told us. “We’re already well ahead of target.”

Meanwhile, Eddie Tobin, owner of Tobin’s Letterkenny, said the first week in December had been his store’s best of the year so far.

“Our car wash was up – everything was up. The nature of our store means we don’t usually see much of a seasonal growth in Christmas. A lot of our business comes from a nearby school so Christmas can actually be slower. But this year has been very good.”

Keith Doyle, manager of the recently opened Maxol M3 Mulhuddart, was equally buoyant about the Christmas period.

“We’ve had an increase in sales since the last week in November to now,” he said. “Customers are definitely more confident. Our car wash hasn’t stopped.

“It’s our first year, so this Christmas is going to be a learning curve. We have Blanchardstown shopping centre down the road, and we anticipate a big spin off from that – people using us as a destination for food and fuel.

“But I can from my own experience that customers are confident in spending, and much happier that last year and previous years.”

Meanwhile, Patrick O’Hanlon, manager of the nearby Fitzpatrick’s Spar Express explained he and his staff were getting into the spirit of things.

“We’re a very Christmas orientated shop,” laughed Patrick. “We decorate the whole store, and a lot of people really respond to how much work we put into it all. We really like to give the customers a great Christmas experience, and make them feel festive.”