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SLIDESHOW: Munster match helps get sales off to a flier in Limerick

A BIG rugby match and huge reductions meant that the January sales got off to the best possible start in Limerick city.

O’Connell Street was thronged from early on, as queues began to form outside Brown Thomas, Debenhams and other stores across Limerick, as eager shoppers sought to get their hands on the biggest post-Christmas bargains.

But with some retailers knocking up to 50% off some items, many smaller store owners decided against opening, perhaps unable to compete with these bigger outfits.

Tony Connolly did open his menswear store in Patrick Street for the first ever time on St Stephen’s Day – and he said the experience has been “well worthwhile”.

“We did find more of a younger customer around. I think a lot of it is because of the match today. I'd say a lot of the Munster rugby fans would be in the city whether they'd be going to it or watching it in a pub. It's a big big day,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Mr Connolly – who also has stores in the Crescent Shopping Centre – felt Stephen's Day would likely be busier in terms of suits and smart wear.

”Today, we have been mainly selling knitwear and shirts. People buy a lot of these presents for others before Christmas, but then they wait for the sales to buy things for themselves – and quite rightly so,” he added.

Helen O’Donnell, Limerick City Business Association, said the urban area was “buzzing” – adding it is a “blessing” that Thomond Park staged Munster v Leinster.

“There is a lot of red and white. We have a lot of people coming in to let their partners off to the game, and give themselves a bit of retail therapy. There's a great buzz,” she said.

One small concern, Ms O’Donnell noted, is that some retailers still have an awful lot of stock in after Christmas.

Asked of the sold-out clash taking place in Thomond Park, the businesswoman added: “It's huge, huge. It brings people from the environs of the city in here. The pubs - those which are open - and the shops will benefit.”

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