Eager shoppers queued up to enter Arnotts and Brown Thomas department stores in Dublin on a rainy Wednesday.
The stores fully re-opened to the public following the Government’s announcement of a move to “Phase Two Plus” on Friday.
Although the stores have opened, shoppers were reminded that some strict measures will be in place to ensure their health and safety are protected.
These include the option to pre-book visits, a “virtual queuing” system, and a ban on touching or trying on beauty testers.
“You’re very welcome to Brown Thomas,” said managing director of Brown Thomas and Arnotts, Donald McDonald, as he held the door open for customers.
Virtually trying on make-up, steaming clothes and virtual queues – the first morning in Brown Thomas department store gave an insight into the future of retail.
A board displaying how many customers are in the store, hand sanitiser and signs asking customers to avoid touching stock are among the measures Brown Thomas are taking to ensure safety.
Mr McDonald said he was delighted to re-open and see customers back in the store after almost three months.
“Customers will see differences in the store but I think they will still get the customer experience and service we are renowned for.
“You can browse the store freely, you can try things on, and everything you try on is sanitised and put into quarantine for 24 hours before it is put back out on the floor.
“We have all worked behind closed doors for the past month to get ready for re-opening.
“People will like some of the measures we have introduced – it will still be the seamless shopping experience people expect and we hope people will enjoy it.”
Socially distanced queue of about 50 people wait for Brown Thomas to opens its doors after three months..— Ãine McMahon (@AineMcMahon) June 10, 2020
That said, hundreds of people have booked fast-track appointments to shop there in the coming days. pic.twitter.com/5KzOzILxKH
Deirdre Barrett and her daughter Aoife from Finglas in Dublin were among the first people in the queue for Brown Thomas.
“We’re just here to get Aoife her 21st birthday present – there’s a pair of earrings she has her eye on.
“We haven’t really missed the shops. Online shopping is there too, and sure we haven’t been going out the past few weeks. Still, it’s nice to come back into town and have a browse.”
Valentina Fitzpatrick, from Italy but living in Dublin, said she was “thrilled” to be able to shop in her favourite store again.
“It’s like a celebration – we have only come back to normality so it is great to be able to come back out and see people and to finally have a sense that business is coming back.
A board displaying how many customers are in the store, hand sanitiser and signs asking customers to avoid touching stock are among the measures Brown Thomas are taking to ensure safety.#Covid19Ireland pic.twitter.com/HAUIazhVqL— Ãine McMahon (@AineMcMahon) June 10, 2020
“I’m here to come and get shoes. I have been online shopping but I love being able to go into a store because you want to touch things, speak to people and try things on.”
In the queue for Arnotts on Henry street, John Crowley from Dublin was first in line to get into the store when it opened at 10.30.
“I queued up from half eight. Online shopping doesn’t appeal to me. I want a hands-on approach and look and touch things before I buy them.
“I’m here to buy a bookcase and a fridge freezer – they’re at a good price and I hope to get a bargain.
“It can be very hard to get things delivered at the minute because you can only get things sent to you at a certain time because everyone is looking for it.”
Brown Thomas said its regional stores in Cork, Limerick and Galway will fully reopen on Thursday June 11.