The last five days to Christmas Eve have traded well, in what is a "full employment" economy, according to Retail Excellence. 

It said that a full weekend, along with along with 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.

Retail Excellence's Christmas trading update report said that overall Christmas this year will be marginally ahead of last year with growth of between 1-2%.

But it added that some retailers faced a more challenging environment, depending on what sector of the Irish retail market they served. 

The retail group noted a fundamental shift in consumers' behaviour, driven in some cases by the "relentless" rise in the use of digital media, especially smartphones. 

It also reported a generational shift away from physical goods to more experiential based retailing, as well as the growing awareness of the whole area of sustainability.

The online retail trade sector continues to show strong growth, and the Black Friday event showed an average growth of 30% on the previous year. 

But Retail Excellence said that while many Irish retailers have embraced the digital and online journey, there is evidence that in some cases it is "Peter robbing to pay Paul" and the sales are being taken from the physical store.

"While Irish retailers continue to invest in the physical store, with some amazing examples of world class retail, the real key to success will be blending the physical with the digital, and creating that seamless "phygital" journey for the customer," it added.