'Busiest day ever' as shoppers splash a record €2bn
Shoppers splashed out an estimated record €2bn over the weekend, with retailers saying Saturday was probably their busiest day ever.
Trade was brisk all across the country as shoppers hunted down last-minute presents, food and drink.
Despite slow trading throughout November and most of December, retailers' tills were well and truly ringing across Ireland yesterday and on Saturday.
Reports suggested it was male shoppers snapping up gift cards who accounted for some of the biggest in-store sales.
Poor weather, Black Friday deals, Brexit concerns, shoppers heading to Northern Ireland and the growth of international online sales in Ireland all caused a drop in trade recently.
However, Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) said shoppers turned out in their droves across the country at the weekend, helping to increase profits for all retailers.
"Saturday was probably the busiest shopping day ever," said REI group chief executive David Fitzsimons.
"This was helped by clement weather nationwide, the economy at close to full employment, with everyone getting paid and a huge amount of postponed spend from last weekend, which was a write-off.
"The only negative was car access in some towns, which was a challenge due to huge volumes of shoppers.
"But every retailer I spoke to had a great weekend."
Many stores have already launched cut-price sales leading up to Christmas Day.
While the weather was dry and mild on Saturday, parts of the country, including Dublin, were rain-sodden yesterday - but the wet failed to put shoppers off as they grasped their last opportunity to buy.