Belfast Telegraph

High street footfall up by over 3% in past year in Northern Ireland

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland shoppers were out in force during November, with footfall up 3.5% during the month, according to a survey released today.

There was also a Black Friday boost, with footfall up 2% on the US-imported discount day.

Over the month as a whole, there was growth across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres, according to information service Springboard.

Northern Ireland was the only UK region to experience growth across all three categories.

Footfall in high streets saw the biggest increase at just under 5% year-on-year, contrasting with a 7.9% fall in November 2015.

Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said the growth was delivering an economic boost, demonstrating that the sector deserved support.

"It is hugely encouraging in the run-up to our busiest time of year that consumers are showing their commitment to shops across Northern Ireland, especially on our high streets, which saw a sparkling 4.7% growth last month," he added.

"The overall footfall growth rate of 3.5% is our best performance in over two years.

"If we are to build on this, the Government needs to show greater commitment to our industry, which employs more than 80,000 people, buys a quarter of all the agri-food produced here and pays around a quarter of all business rates.

"In addition, the retail industry is already delivering on half of the key indicators in the Executive's draft Programme for Government, some achievement from an industry that accounts for only 12% of the economy."

He concluded that the Government should mitigate the increased costs facing retail as there was a "cumulative burden of Government-imposed costs".

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