With pre-Christmas sales marginally down on 2012, retailers throughout the county were very dependent on a good post-Christmas rush.
Surveys indicated that Christmas trading in December was marginally down on the previous years with most traders carrying a significant level of stock which they needed to convert into cash.
Stephen Harron of Magee in Donegal said, “There is no doubt that pre-Christmas trading was just about on a par with the previous year but in saying that, it was still very steady.
“The customer might have a little more discretionary income than this time last year, but people have become used to being careful with their money - six years of cautious spending has become a hard habit to break.
Stephen added, “ There are also changing trends - the customer is also becoming much more knowledgeable and many are quite prepared to wait until after Christmas.
“We are very happy with our footfall since the sales started. Traditionally we have always kept our sale going for the month and we will carry on in the same vein this year with discounts up to 70%.”
In the west of the county, Crona Walsh of The Cope in Dungloe reported a similar trend with the pre-Christmas period steady and then a good rush after Christmas .
She said, “Thankfully things have been good overall - in a store this size with such a diverse range of products we find that even if trends change we have something to meet everybody’s needs. There is no doubt that the shopper of today will hold out for good value and we will be continuing with the sale for another few weeks.”
McElhinney’s in Ballybofey is very much bucking the trend with a significant increase in trade throughout.
Roisin Woods said, “Our pre-Christmas trade has been superb both instore and online and the sales have been phenomenal. It is great to see the same faces coming back year after year - its like a pilgrimage for many of them. We have customers travelling to us from every corner of the country and many are now shopping online with us from as far away as Saudi Arabia and Russia. We will have even further reductions next week ensuring that everybody benefits from the great value.”