Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Shoppers surge on

With only three shopping days to go to Christmas, the long-awaited retail rush is set to move into top gear.

In this topsy-turvy world the sales began weeks ago which means there are still plenty of bargains.

Of course, Newry has led the way and the remarkable renaissance of the border town has even won acclaim Stateside.

The New York Times, no less, commented on the invasion of southern shoppers which has the tills ringing in the Newry malls.

Rather cleverly, it noted that during the time of the Troubles, long queues at the border usually meant there was a security check or an alert up ahead.

But nowadays the traffic jam simply means that more and more people from the Republic are sampling the delights of spending euro in Northern Ireland.

But while shopping in Newry is an all-day expedition, Belfast shoppers are more time-efficient.

According to an intriguing press release from Q-Park, which runs the underground lot at Victoria Square, the average local shopper spends two hours 53 minutes on a typical visit to the city centre.

Could be something with the hefty car park charges at Victoria Square, but it certainly shows a bit of savvy and advance planning.

Generous to a fault, though, Q-Park is giving shoppers a third hour of parking free of charge up to Christmas. Certainly puts a new slant on the old shopping slogan of buy two, get one free!

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