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Newry retailers preparing for last minute Christmas rush

With Christmas just days away shoppers in Newry are believed to be better prepared than ever according to local traders. Many people in the district started Christmas shopping much earlier this year and while the reasons for this differ from being caught out by last year’s snow to concerns over money, traders agree that this week will still experience a last minute rush. Peter Murray, centre manager of the Buttercrane Shopping Centre said there seems to be apathy among consumers across the high street: “Generally there seems to apathy everywhere, this Christmas customers are looking for value for money. We are seeing a more discerning customer. People don’t have as much disposable income so are more thoughtful about their spending. However we still see a loosening of the purse strings in the week of Christmas. People still want to enjoy themselves and buy nice things for the people they love. What we have noticed is that in the last few years there is a trend of more people buying gift cards. Rather than buy something that may be half price in the January sales you can buy more for the same value so clearly shoppers are more prudent with expenditure. While I think we may never see again the rush from southern customers a few years ago because of the  exchange rate, Nwery is no doubt still getting a lot of business from the south and areas like Belfast and Dungannon.This is something Jack Murphy speaking on behalf of City Centre Management agrees with: “We are still getting a steady stream of customers from the south and the VAT increase has helped dramatically, it has nearly acted like an advertising campaign for Newry. Daywe have found the number of shoppers to be slightly up on last year and Christmas shopping began earlier. Some people have been caught out by last year by the snow so have shopped earlier. I think shoppers are making earlier decisions and are more conscious of their spending. Customers still want good quality but they want better value for money. We still expect a last minute rush this week as usual. Some people aren’t as prepared or perhaps the gift of a boyfriend has in mind isn’t quite what his girlfriend is after,” Mr Murphy added.


Newry Democrat

23rd December 2011