Retailers had their busiest day of post-Christmas sales in six years yesterday, according to Retail Excellence Ireland.

The industry group said that, amongst the retailers that opened on St Stephen’s Day, sales were more than 20% higher when compared to last year.

Earlier this week REI said retailers were reporting slower-than-anticipated trade in the lead up to Christmas as customers remained cautious in their spending.

Shoppers seemed to be putting off spending on luxury items as well as “big ticket” household purchases, it said, in anticipation of better offers after Christmas.

It said this has in turn forced shops to offer bigger discounts on items as part of their sales, as they seek to work down larger-than-expected levels of stock.

REI said that despite strong demand on St Stephen’s Day, it expected today to be even more important to retailers as more shops opened following the Christmas holidays.