Industry representative body Retail Excellence has said it is to meet with Met Éireann in the New Year to discuss what it describes as the negative impact weather alerts have on footfall.

The organisation said while it is normal for footfall to fall by around 12% on a bad weather day, the declines double when Met Éireann issues an alert.     

Retail Excellence surveyed over 300 of its members in the lead-up to Christmas.

Its Chief Executive David Fitzsimons said the research found "the most common comment from retailers this year is that the weather alert issued by Met Éireann pertaining to weather conditions last Saturday was at best alarmist".

The group added that Christmas trading for retailers has been "on par" with last year.

Mr Fitzsimons said that "the last five days to Christmas Eve have traded well with the extra day an added bonus and the psychology of having three full shopping days before Christmas Day, when most people were on annual leave, did have a very positive impact on footfall and spending.

"However the retail environment this Christmas has been very challenging with most sectors recording little change from the same period in 2017."

The industry body has called on the Government to reduce business costs and most the headline VAT rate of 23%.

The organisation carried out its study among more than 300 retailers in the week leading up to Christmas Day (19-24 December).