SPENDING reached new heights in Limerick over the festive period, as retailers rejoiced in the biggest expenditure splurge since before the economic crash in 2007.
Thousands of people queued early outside Brown Thomas, the Crescent Shopping Centre and Harvey Norman’s on St Stephen’s day.
Liam Dwan, manager of Brown Thomas, said this year has been their busiest since they first opened for St Stephen’s day in the city three years ago.
“It was unbelievable. We had well over 100 people queuing before the store opened at 9am, and we were well blitzed by about 2pm. Friday morning started slow, but it quickly ramped back up again,” he told the Limerick Leader.
With reductions of up to 60% off selected lines, savvy shoppers again made a bee-line for designer handbags, particularly Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, which had 30% off.
“There really is great value to be had. We expect everything to be cleared within a two-week window,” he added.
Hundreds more people queued outside the Crescent Shopping Centre, but Mr Dwan said he doesn’t believe that trade in the city was particularly affected by the exodus of shoppers to the Crescent when the weather turned.
“People will always come into the city for the atmosphere at Christmas, but on days when the weather is extremely poor people will naturally gravitate to shopping centres. That’s natural and will never change. Plus, the exclusive brands that we have in the city, along high streets brands such as Oasis, Mango and Warehouse, ensures that the city has that edge for shoppers,” he said.
Megan Leonard, one of the managers in Harvey Norman’s on the Ballysimon Road, said: “It was one of the best St Stephen’s days we’ve had in a long time. We have been up the walls.
“It’s the busiest we’ve seen since 2007, and we had thousands of people in on St Stephen’s day, and double the number on last year’s figures. It’s been absolutely great. The team are thrilled.”
While thousands of people flooded the store, Ms Leonard said their number of online orders have also grown, especially with the introduction of a free delivery service.
“There seems to be a lot of money around at the moment. People are not holding back. We had 70% off Christmas decorations for next year, and they are almost gone.” Retail Excellence Ireland also confirmed that St Stephen’s Day sales were the busiest in six years.