A late rally in Christmas retail trading should see sales “on par with 2015”, according to Retail Excellence Ireland.

The group said there has been a noticeable difference across sectors, adding that the volatility experienced is a clear indication of the challenges faced by the retail industry.

Communications Director with Retail Excellence Lynn Drumgoole said: “Consumer shopping patterns are changing with savvy consumers researching online and in-store for the best prices, discounting and ease of shopping experience.

“The impact of Black Friday cannot be ignored but with two full days of trading left and many people finishing work and travelling home we should see local stores benefit as people buy those last minute gifts.”

REI said footfall in many urban centres is up, but the mild weather in recent weeks has had a negative impact on sales of winter stock – particularly in ladies fashion, footwear and children’s wear.

Online is seen as the big winner this year, with some online sectors experiencing double-digit sales growth.