Ahead of the sales, expectations of a bumper summer sales period were minimal but only 30 percent of those retailers canvassed maintain that business yesterday morning was the same as last year.
The rest, however, are braced for a poor sales period.
According to a statement issued by Pimeco, the first morning of the sales performed as expected, over shadowed by the general high street apathy with consumer confidence remaining low and the general public with less disposable income to spend at the sales. Yesterday's trade was very similar to how it has been since the start of the year and the summer sales are unlikely to prove any more profitable than the winter sales, the statement concluded. What is more, 60 percent of small traders claim that not only do people have less money, there were much fewer people out and about on the first day of the sales.
Only 40 percent maintained that they had handled a similar number of clients.
The small retail sector is also dismayed because the opening day offers have never been so attractive with discounts of as much as 60 to 70 percent on some items.
For the department stores and major shopping centres, trade was apparently much brisker with some stores reporting an upturn in trade. Retail sector experts said yesterday that the next few days are going to prove crucial.