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Victoria Square sees Christmas bonanza

By Staff Reporter

There were 93,500 shoppers at Belfast’s Victoria Square on December 23, fresh figures show — the highest number for all of 2015.

Agents Lambert Smith Hampton also said the high-end centre had welcomed a total of 500,000 people in the final week of the year — up 5% on the year before.

Criona Collins, head of retail at the commercial property agency, said the figures marked a good finish for the year in retail. 

She said other shopping centres around the province enjoyed an improved performance, including Ards Shopping Centre, Buttercrane in Newry, Foyleside in Londonderry and Forestside in Belfast.

And she predicted that food and drinks offerings in shopping centres would continue to expand.

She added: “The adjustment in rates and rents in the past year has been instrumental in giving the sector a lift. With continued low interest rates, retailers are more confident about the strength of footfall and spending power.”

PwC chief economist Esmond Birnie said the figures were “surprising”. And he said the spending may have been fuelled by the use of savings or an increase in consumer debt. 

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