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Massive rise in shoppers coming from the Republic

By Colm Kelpie

Published 04/11/2016

Traffic heading from the Republic into Northern Ireland has soared by almost 30% on Saturday mornings since the Brexit vote.

New research by Goodbody Stockbrokers showed a link between the value of sterling and traffic crossing the border from the south.

The largest increase is seen on Saturday mornings, between 10am and 11am, with traffic surging 29% year-on-year, compared with a rise of just 3% before the vote.

Sterling surged to a four-week high yesterday after the High Court ruled that the Government needed parliamentary approval to trigger Brexit, and the Bank of England scrapped plans to cut interest rates.

But Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Newry Junior Chamber that he was expecting shoppers to continue to head north as Christmas draws near, with the pound still relatively weak.

"This is a phenomenon that we have seen before, and obviously that you will see probably increase in the run-up to Christmas," Mr Kenny said.

"I'm conscious that while this is good news for retailers here in Newry, on the other side of the border the fluctuation in sterling provides a real challenge."

Meanwhile, a surge in cross-border shopping sparked by the tumbling pound will make Christmas a bumper season for retailers, it's been claimed.

Barclays Northern Ireland relationship director Graeme McLaughlin said confidence in retail in the province was strong, despite the economic shock caused by the Brexit vote.

"The fall in the value of the pound is proving to be very useful for Northern Ireland retailers and we expect Belfast retailers in particular to have a bumper Christmas," he added.

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