Traditionally Czechs take the shops by storm on the last weekend of Advent and this year was no exception. Salespeople are reporting record sales particularly in the food and electronics departments.
Consumer trust in the economy has been growing and Czechs are once again spending freely not just on presents and winter holidays but on food for the table over Christmas. Shops around the country have extended their opening hours up until December 24th and the effort is paying off in significantly higher sales. On the last three of the four Advent weekends – dubbed Bronze, Silver and Gold, a sales tack created by retailers in the years of the First Republic – sales traditionally grow several-fold hitting their annual peak. The hypermarket chain Globus says Christmas sales will be higher than last year and the Swedish chain IKEA which usually experiences a shopping frenzy during sales in the New Year has reported a heightened interest in Swedish food specialties for instance salmon, pickled herring, Swedish Christmas cookies and wine. According to IKEAs Czech branch spokesman Tomáš Kubík sales on the Advent weekends have shown a growth of more than ten percent year-on-year.
The largest Brno shopping mall says it served 200,000 customers in the course of the last Advent weekend which is the most shoppers at this time in six years and shopping centers in Ostrava likewise report record sales. Apart from food, alcohol and Christmas decorations it is electronics that are the biggest attraction with smart phones, ipads and play-stations most in demand as well as small electronic appliances as gifts. Electro World says ipads are this year’s Christmas hit in all its stores and Euronics says its sales have more than doubled on all four Advent weekends. Last minute shoppers are rewarded by significant price cuts –many sales people effect cuts of 25 to 50 percent on the last weekend of Advent.
Internet sales have become increasingly popular with some companies reporting 25 percent higher sales in the run up to Christmas. Gift certificates for wellness programs, fitness clubs and adrenalin gifts are also selling exceptionally well. The majority of shops will have extended opening hours up until December the 23rd with shopping malls offering their services until the afternoon of December 24th for late shoppers –closing down literally just hours before the highlight of the Czech Christmas celebrations which in the Czech Republic take place on the eve of Christmas Day.