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'We have reaped the benefits from vote to leave EU, says boss of shopping centre'

By Margaret Canning

Peter Murray is manager of the Buttercrane Shopping Centre in Newry. Along with the city's other businesses, it's benefited from the arrival of shoppers from the Republic. The vote to leave the EU triggered a fall of around 10% in the value of sterling against the euro - making goods cheaper in Northern Ireland.

Mr Murray said: "Buttercrane doesn't reflect the Springboard survey as year on year we have seen growth. In the last year growth has probably been around 3% to 5% and that's because of Brexit and the euro. That was particularly true last year and we are still benefiting from it, though it has started to slow down.

"Around October and November last year, around 50% of our shoppers were from the Republic, but now that's down to about 20%.

"We've added quite a lot of food stores to the centre, like a Subway and T2 Bistro, and that helps."

Adding to the food offering helped attract more shoppers, who were prepared to stay longer in order to have something to eat.

He dismissed claims that political instability and lack of an Executive were holding people back.

"No matter what happens this day week (the deadline to form an Executive) you still have to eat and clothe yourself. If there's an Executive that comes about, it's good, but nobody is sitting to wait and see what comes out of Stormont."

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