Black Friday may be over, but the Christmas shopping rush is just beginning. As November ends and the Christmas season really kicks off, city retailers can expect a flood of customers, all looking for bargains, presents and festive impulse buys.
Christmas is easily the busiest time of year for shoppers and retailers, and that’s good news for Limerick. Increased footfall and the hunt for good value will keep city centre businesses active throughout the holiday season and into the new year.
Despite the rise in online sales and the record-setting success of internet marketplace Amazon, traditional shops are still winning Yuletide business. Many shoppers prefer the hands-on approach, especially when buying children’s toys, and top quality, in-store customer service can’t be beaten by a website.
Limerick Chamber of Commerce is certain that the city’s businesses will benefit from the usual seasonal surge. The Chamber particularly highlighted the supports that have been put in place to assist city businesses.
“Limerick Chamber welcomes the numerous events planned for the city centre during the festive season, to support businesses,” the Chamber’s Director of Policy, Dr Gráinne Greehy said. “Limerick Chamber is delighted to sponsor the Santa’s Post Box event taking place on 9 and 10 December at Bedford Row.
“It is fantastic that there are so many family-friendly events organised this Christmas, many of which are free, including the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour, Festival Music on Thomas Street and the Festive Craft Fair on Bedford Row. The upcoming events will help to generate a real city centre buzz and increase footfall in the build-up to Christmas. In addition to being enjoyable for all attending, these events will also positively impact city centre businesses”, she added.
“In terms of getting around during the busy Yuletide, Limerick Chamber advocates the use of public transport initiatives such as ‘Park and Stride’ and ‘Park and Ride’ where appropriate, as they would reduce traffic congestion, while facilitating relatively easy city centre access.”
Professor Linda Milhalick, an expert in merchandising and digital retail, sees rising confidence in global markets and she believes this will have an impact on Christmas shopping.
“Consumer confidence has been cautiously trending upwards for much of 2017,” Milhalick told media outlets. “Expendable income spending has seen some shifting toward experiences, which can mean anything from tickets to an event, a day at the museum or a mini-vacation.”
Christmas spending can be a major expense for families, and some even go into debt. But forward planning and shopping around can help consumers avoid these pitfalls.
“Taking the time to price compare using the internet can amount to large savings and you will still enjoy being a great gift-giver,” Prof Milhalick said. “If you save a little on one, then you could transfer that to another. Stay on the budget you set in November and you’ll thank yourself in January.”
“Keep in perspective that the point is to enjoy each other’s company, so be creative and plan the get together at someone’s home, with everyone bringing their favourite dish to share,” she said. “This is a fun way to defray costs for everyone.”