Footfall jumps by a quarter at Quays Shopping Centre, Newry
While the decision to leave the European Union may be holding some sectors back, for the retailers of Newry the last couple of years have grown increasingly busy and the next few years will be a time to make hay.
The Quays Shopping Centre in Newry witnessed a jump in footfall of nearly a quarter following the opening of its latest development.
Data from the centre shows footfall climbed by 28.9% In April compared to the same month last year and early indications suggest the momentum has been maintained going into May.
The increase follows the completion of the £20m Phase Five development of the centre which saw 100,000 square feet of retail space added to the 375,000 square feet already in place.
The latest addition brought more big names to the centre, including Marks & Spencer and Pure Gym.
Colin Mathewson, Senior Director at CBRE, said Newry’s geographic location near the border is helping draw retailers:
“Shoppers have been flooding into the city from the surrounding district and, crucially, from across the border as canny buyers from the Republic take advantage of the weaker pound versus the euro to snap up a bargain.
“Geography has, in this instance, played a big part with the city’s location on the eastern seaboard of Ireland able to draw on a growing and affluent catchment population of 1.3m which has easy road, rail and bus access to its very heart and which sits midway between both Belfast and Dublin.”
He said other retailers, such as Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, Topshop, H&M and River Island, have also backed the city.
“They are aware of the developments in Brussels and London on the Brexit negotiations and are eager to back a city which has developed into a retail destination.”
He said Brexit is, in fact, boosting retail in Newry.
“There’s no doubt that in a broader context, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has acted as a drag on growth elsewhere in the Northern Ireland economy, but in many instances businesses are nevertheless managing to put in strong performances. That is the case for the retail sector in Newry, although it is blessed with the added advantage that the weaker pound is helping to drive custom and draw big names to the city.
“So, while the decision to leave the European Union may be holding some sectors back, for the retailers of Newry the last couple of years have grown increasingly busy and the next few years will be a time to make hay.”