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Northern Ireland’s retailers enjoy a 3% rise in customers

Northern Ireland’s retailers saw over 3% more visitors in 2009 while shops in the Republic floundered as shoppers sought bargains north of the border, new figures reveal.

From January to June, footfall in the province’s shops was up by over 7% compared to 2008, according to the statistics from information company Experian.

But taken together, the last three months of 2009 showed only a slight rise of 0.1% on a year earlier — while last month’s footfall was down 7.4%.

Meanwhile, the news was grim for shops in the Republic, as the Experian National Footfall Index showed that overall footfall fell by 5.7% on 2008. Paul Slevin, head of sales and marketing of Experian in Ireland, said: “In Northern Ireland the footfall figure for December decreased by 7.4%, which is a big drop compared to the same period last year.” He added: “It is possible that a proportion of southern shoppers are continuing to visit Northern Ireland to take advantage of the weaker pound and the lower VAT rate (until January 1).”

Belfast Telegraph