Hectic sales trade in Limerick as shoppers come out for bargains

SHOPS in Limerick have reported a "hectic trade" across the city since the post-Christmas sales began, and the larger department stores that opened on St. Stephen's Day - some for the first time in their history - have reported a "brisk trade" on the day itself.

SHOPS in Limerick have reported a "hectic trade" across the city since the post-Christmas sales began, and the larger department stores that opened on St. Stephen's Day - some for the first time in their history - have reported a "brisk trade" on the day itself.

Queues formed outside Brown Thomas from early on St Stephen's morning, as the shop opened at 10am on the traditional holiday for the first time in its history.

Debenham's and Penney's followed suit in opening on St Stephen's Day, more traditionally a busy shopping day in the UK.

Liam Dwan, general manager of Brown Thomas in Limerick, said the store "couldn't afford not to open".

"Customer demand has forced us to open," said Mr Dwan. Limerick Chamber chief executive Maria Kelly said she "fully supported" this new trend.

"According to anecdotal evidence, shops that traded last year on Stephen's Day had an extremely successful day," she said. "In Limerick it is not traditionally a shopping day, but these times I can understand why they would decide to do it."

However this decision was not met with full approval from retailers in the city.

Tony Connolly of Connolly Menswear on Patrick Street, said that, in his opinion, "there is absolutely no need to open on St. Stephen's Day".

"If everybody was prepared to agree with that, nobody would lose out on anything, but it seems to be driven by the department stores all the time, and it is putting more and more pressure on the independents," explained Mr Connolly, who has been in the retail business for 40 years.

He added: "We are very pleased with sales over the last few days, it was much better than expected and we have been hectic thankfully. I am hoping for a good week and I would be very optimistic."