THE SUN may be shining - on occasion. There may be 127 days left to the big day. But, already, Brown Thomas is decking the halls with boughs of holly.
From 9am this Thursday morning, shoppers at the Limerick store were able to buy gold and gilded baubles, Christmas crackers and festive food in the dedicated instore Christmas market.
And the reason for opening so early? It’s all down to demand, say the experts.
“It feels extremely early to everybody but it is the same time every year for us and the main reason for that is we have had the customer demand,” said Edel Woods, Brown Thomas seasonal homeware buyer.
“We have opened this week for the past four years now and even prior to that it might have been one week later. It’s always August – it’s that time of year where we still have a lot of tourists in the store and we are finding customers are coming in picking something up while on their holidays. We do have customers who are keen to shop early.”
For many customers wandering around the store at their leisure, there are a few double takes when the Christmas wonderland comes into view.
“There is also a lot of laughing especially with the sun shining - this is something we are working on from December to December. We start buying in January and February – it is an all-year round activity for me,” said Ms Woods.
The themes for this year’s Christmas market at Brown Thomas include, Ice Palace, Venetian Winter, I Love Candy and Santa’s Journey.
“We sold two of our giant nutcrackers earlier in the week in Dublin because they had seen them coming out of the box. They had been in last year but they had missed buying them. The woman heard that we were opening this week so she was in trying to get over the ropes to buy so she was lucky enough to get two.”
The organised shopper makes the visit to the store well before the festive season starts to get the best of the product.
“By the time we get to the middle of November we are sold down quite significantly on the trim side of it - items that go on your tree - and we are moving on to promoting Christmas food and products like that. Limerick gets about 90% of what the Dublin store gets because we are lucky enough to have a comfortable enough amount of space in the store.”
There has been mixed response to the opening of the market. One social media user tweeted his disbelief at the news saying: “I can’t believe @brownthomas are opening a Christmas section in August! That’s just wrong! #TooSoon #DownWithThisSortOfThing”