Huge internet dispatch centres have not pulled the rug from under the traditional High Street with Londonderry’s largest shopping centre reporting over 2m shopping visits in the run up to Christmas.
Fergal Rafferty, Foyleside Shopping Centre Manager said: “There was a trend this year for shoppers to use the ‘click and collect’ for store such as Debenhams, Dunnes and Boots. Many stores have reported significant growth in this area and this looks like being a winning strategy for some retailers.
“With the sales now in full swing and thousands of Foyleside gift cards passed over as presents and stocking fillers, we’re anticipating that the positive footfall will continue into the New Year. We’re also about to welcome some new retailers to the scheme so the momentum created by City of Culture will hopefully continue throughout 2014 and beyond.”
Mr Rafferty also believes the Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 title boosted trade.
“It’s been a very busy Christmas at Foyleside and we’ve really seen the positive impact of the City of Culture status and events bearing fruit where we have welcomed new shoppers to the City including some from as far away as Wexford,” he said.
“The last quarter of 2013 has been exceptional with a great kick-off for Christmas trading with the Lumiere Festival bringing 180,000 visitors to the City. This event really captured the imagination with many visitors combining a visit to the city with some festive shopping.
“December has already seen over 1 million shopper visits to the Centre with the remainder of the week still to report, a week with traders going on sale and heavily discounting. This December included our busiest ever trading day for some stores on December 23,” he added.