Footfall figures show shoppers abandoning North

IRISH shoppers continued to abandon the North this year as footfall figures continue to fall.

It wasn’t great news for retailers in the Republic though as footfall fell 1.1% at the country’s shopping centres in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year.

In Northern Ireland there was a fall of 2.1% in the first quarter compared with 2010. Taking the previous four quarters into account, the average year on year decline is almost 4%.

Figures released by Experian show that year on year, average footfall in the Republic of Ireland has dropped by around 1.4% over the past four quarters.

Northern Ireland experienced a drop of 7.2% in the final quarter of 2010 compared with the yearly decline of 1.1% experienced by retailers in the Republic.

Head of sales at Experian Ireland, Mark Anderson said: “There is no doubt retailers are continuing to experience tough trading conditions, however an average decrease in footfall of 1.4% over the past four quarters is manageable, particularly when compared with the significant decreases experienced by Irish retailers throughout 2008/2009 and currently by our counterparts in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Anderson said that despite the treacherous weather conditions experienced at the start of the year, the footfall figure for Ireland during January 2011 is up 1.3% compared with 2010.

“It would appear that shoppers were willing to brave the sub-zero temperatures and dangerous driving conditions to snap up bargains in the January sales,” he said. “In February we witnessed the introduction of the Universal Social Charge (USC), which is anticipated to have a further impact on consumers discretionary spending.

“Although the footfall declined by 1.4% and 2.2% in February and March respectively, it is likely too early yet to gauge if the USC will in reality impact on the number of shoppers out and about,” he added.

The Footfall Index is a national benchmark of visitor numbers to shopping centres geographically spread throughout Ireland.


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