Seasonal stores open, printed catalogs, Toy Show auditions in progress
As we still embrace the end of summer here in Ireland, somewhere in the cool depths of the North Pole, the Elves are no doubt enthusiastically ripping a new page off their calendars – for today officially marks 100 days to Christmas. .
Irish stores are already gearing up for the season, with all four of Brown Thomas’ Christmas boutiques open in stores, as well as online.
There’s a good reason they’re opening early, with popular items like artificial Christmas trees typically selling out in November.
âThe Christmas Shop is considered to have the most exquisite festive offerings available,â says Rachel Morgans, director of home and life purchasing at Brown Thomas.
âWe pride ourselves on pursuing the finest decorations with high customer demand from our opening; baubles and decorations are extremely popular early in the season, and Christmas trees start selling in early November.
In addition to their lifelike trees, the retailer also offers a range of winter-themed wreaths and garlands from brands such as Cork-based Paper Daisy, which have proven popular with customers.
For those already planning their toy store, Smyths Toys also recommends arriving early.
The retailer will release its famous catalog on September 24, showcasing what they expect to be this year’s flagship items, including LOL Surprise! dolls, LEGO, Purse Pets and Jurassic World toys.
âSmyths Toys advises customers to shop early for Christmas this year. It’s always a good idea to avoid the rush and avoid disappointment,â said a representative for the toy giant.
âWe are also encouraging customers to come to the store starting September 24 to pick up a free 300 page Smyths Toys catalog. This will give customers time to make those key gifting decisions.
Hanleys of Cork is also preparing to open its Christmas shop in the coming weeks, with the retailer getting ready to ring the bells as soon as possible.
âWe expect it to be busy this year. As the restrictions ease, people will visit more relationships and people will be keen to create the best Christmas atmosphere possible at home,â Keith said. Hanley.
âMuch of our stock is being held up due to shipping issues, but if we can get all of the stock we need, we plan to open the Christmas Shop on October 3 or sooner.â
Many other stores expect to be particularly busy this Christmas after an impressive 2020 season.
Revolut data showed Irish consumers spent 6% more last December than in December 2019 – even with the pandemic in full swing.
Spending at toy stores increased 45% from the previous year, while spending on household items increased 81%. Things were even better for supermarkets, with â¬ 1.2 billion spent on groceries last Christmas, a 17% jump from 2019.
âWhile not a traditional Christmas, shoppers still went out of their way to make it merry and have fun after a tough year,â said Emer Healy, analyst at Kantar.
âOur collective sweet tooth saw an additional 6.7 million euros spent on chocolate confectionery. We also parted with an additional â¬ 3million in cheese, and as we all raised a drink until the end of 2020, alcohol sales soared 33%.
The trend is expected to continue as the country continues to open up, just in time for the season.
Meanwhile, RTÃ opened the auditions for the, which takes place on November 26.
Last year’s show featured a group of talented kids who captured the hearts of the nation. Some have gone on to release singles, like 14-year-old Michael Moloney, while others have raised tons of money for charity, like Saoirse Ruane, who helped inspire the Toy Show’s appeal of 6, 6 million euros.
Adam King from Cork also became an instant star on the night, sharing his “virtual hug” to raise over â¬ 260,000 for CUH and Temple Street Children’s Hospital. A new animated series inspired by Adam is even expected to be unveiled this month.
Applications are open to any child who can ‘sing, dance or just love to chat’ and those interested can apply online by submitting an audition tape.
âBring us the stars and we’ll let them shine, I can assure you,â said host Ryan Tubridy.
To apply, go to www.rte.ie.