Rushmere Shopping Centre has reported a higher than usual number of Saturday shoppers after retailers at the Craigavon complex voted overwhelmingly to open on July 12 this year.
Opening its doors for the first time on the day all retail traditionally shuts up shop, the restricted opening times drew nearly 20,000 visitors — a marked hourly increase of 20% on a usual Saturday afternoon’s trading.
In the week leading up to the Twelfth celebrations, Rushmere experienced an 18% increase on the 2007 visitor numbers — with numbers for July 11 up 10% on last year.
Martin Walsh, Rushmere centre manager, said: “We believe our decision to open on the Twelfth has been vindicated. We were encouraged by the retailers’ decision to open and the feedback we have been receiving from regular customers in the lead up to the holiday period has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The full week before the Twelfth looked very promising and all the businesses involved benefited from our initiative to open the doors.
“The higher footfall in a concentrated time frame as opposed to an average Saturday shows that we made the right decision to open. Regular and new customers turned out in their thousands and this is their vote of confidence in the centre.”
Over 90% of the retailers based at Rushmere took the collective decision to open over the holiday period.
The centre also launched a public information campaign to alert customers that trading would continue.