Belfast Telegraph

Cross-border shoppers splash out

Cross-border shoppers spent 418 million euro in Northern Ireland over the last year, it has emerged.

Official figures revealed 14% of households made at least one shopping trip to the north in the 12 months up to the end of June, handing over an average 274 euro on their most recent visit.

Household goods remained the most common buy, with 77% of visitors purchasing groceries, followed by alcohol (44%) and clothing (40%). A quarter bought cosmetics.

While the frequency of shopping trips to Northern Ireland rose to an average of 8.6 in the year, up from 6.7 in the previous period, the proportion of households in Dublin heading to the north fell from 21% to 15%.

The data was released in the Central Statistics Office (CSO) quarterly national household survey on cross-border shopping.

The drinks industry previously called on the Government to cut the VAT rate in the upcoming budget to increase competition with the north, while retailers want a 20% cut in commercial rates in 2011. The figures showed a 2% drop in cross border shoppers in the 12 months compared to the previous year, when an estimated 435 million euro was spent.

The CSO said: "While there was a decline in the proportions of households making shopping trips to Northern Ireland, this was offset by the fact that households who were making trips were doing so more than previously."

Some 311 million euro of the total was forked out by those travelling north specifically to shop, with 107 million euro spent during trips where shopping was not the main purpose but occurred. More than a third of shoppers were from the border regions, who made 8.6 trips in the year and spent 240 million euro (£204), up from 181 million euro.

While Dubliners still represented 29% of cross border shoppers, they spent just 57 million euro - half of what the tills took in a year earlier. The average last shop spend fell to 284 euro. But figures revealed the biggest spenders travelled the furthest.

The survey showed while the lowest proportion of shoppers were from the south-east, mid-west and south-west of Ireland - making up just 8% of consumers - they splashed out an average 523 euro on their last trip. Overall their annual spend was 30 million euro.

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From Belfast Telegraph