Fewer Northern Ireland shoppers say retailers

Sunday 15 December 2013 17.10
Belfast city centre seeing fewer shoppers than a year ago - but traders hope for Christmas boost
Belfast city centre seeing fewer shoppers than a year ago - but traders hope for Christmas boost

The number of shoppers in Northern Ireland last month was 6% lower than a year ago according to new figures from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium. 

Traders have reported positive signs this month however as Belfast is busy with Christmas shoppers. 

Consortium director Aodhan Connolly said: "Footfall levels have seen some slight recovery compared against October but that is small comfort when the drop is still so steep and lagging well behind the UK average.

"With the countdown to Christmas now well under way, retailers in Northern Ireland will hope that footfall returns to more positive territory during December."

In November shopper numbers in Northern Ireland were 6% lower than a year ago, an improvement on the near 10% decline in October.

These figures are lower than the UK as a whole, where numbers were down almost 3%.

Paul McMahon - president of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and director of the Castlecourt shopping centre - has said the indications were that Christmas would be positive and strong.

Chief executive of Pubs Of Ulster Colin Neill said the city's bars were thriving.

A bomb on Friday evening in Belfast in which no-one was injured was swiftly followed by reassurance from Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir that the city is safe.