Shoppers flood into city stores despite St Stephen's day rains
Lashing rain didn't deter determined bargain-hunters from being first in the door as the annual St Stephen's Day sales got under way yesterday.
On Dublin's Grafton Street, hundreds of shoppers sought refuge from the rain and cold in doorways before 9am, when the doors to Brown Thomas and other popular stores on one of Ireland's busiest high streets were flung open for eager shoppers.
Martina Riches, General Manager of Brown Thomas Dublin, said she was initially concerned that the bad weather might result in fewer numbers this year.
"But it ultimately didn't affect us," she told the Herald.
"St Stephen's Day always draws a big crowd and it was pretty strong," she said of several hundred shoppers who were the first in the door.
"The main draw for many were discounts of between 30pc to 50pc on ladies' and men's fashion and accessories," she said.
While Retail Excellence Ireland - Ireland's largest retailer association - said that retailers were not expecting Christmas and post-Christmas sales to exceed 2pc growth this year over last, Ms Riches said the tills were ringing sufficiently at the department store.
"Day one (of the winter sales) is always good," she said.
"There's a great atmosphere on St Stephen's Day and we're happy with the numbers over last year."
Meanwhile, at Arnotts department store, sales were also buoyant throughout the day with offers of up to 50pc off, according to a store spokeswoman.
About 150 eager shoppers went through the store's three entrances on Abbey Street, Liffey Street and Henry Street when the doors opened at 9am.
The store reported brisk sales of menswear, women's fashion and accessories and beauty gift sets.
Mother-of-two Roisin Kelly, (40), from Walkinstown, Dublin, started browsing around at 3pm, but she said she didn't notice any more deals on offer than during the Christmas period. She bought some linen and a shirt for her husband at 20pc off.
"I think I'll wait another week and come back.
"They're hedging their bets at 20pc off, but I might try to get a coat at 50pc off later," Ms Kelly told the Herald.
Retailers will be hoping that the milder weather in Dublin today will continue to bring shoppers out and about.
Met Eireann has forecast outbreaks of rain and drizzle during the morning, but these will largely clear by the afternoon, allowing for some brighter spells.