A flood of shoppers from the Republic have helped a Northern Ireland retail park avoid the economic downturn and report sales up over 20%.
The Outlet at Banbridge, Co Down, has reported year-on-year sales growth of 21.5% and an average shopper spend up 13.5%.
Shoppers from the South were continuing to boost business, with its ‘car counts’ showing 83% more Irish registered vehicles parked outside than this time last year. The spring statistics followed a record Christmas period when Irish traffic was up 150%, they said.
The details were released as official figures showed retail sales in the Republic were down 17.9% in March compared to a year earlier.
Euan Forbes, manager of the designer retail Outlet centre, said: “Our retailers and the area as a whole are benefiting from a consistent flow of traffic from the South. There are stages throughout the year where the Outlet is getting more southern visitors than some of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, these retail tourists are a major factor in our sales growth.”
He added: “There is literally a surge in Irish shoppers every weekend and every Bank Holiday, and not just from Dublin — we are getting coach tours and organised trips from all over the country.”
The A1 from the border was bringing so much traffic from the South that retailers throughout Banbridge were reaping the benefits, said the Outlet.