Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland shopping centres see steepest drop in footfall for over year

Financial strain: Aodhan Connolly
Financial strain: Aodhan Connolly
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Footfall in Northern Ireland's retail centres fell by 3% during August, however the rate of high street decline softened last month.

But footfall in shopping centres here fell 4.2% last month, the steepest rate of decline since July 2018.

Northern Ireland high streets saw a 2.6% dip in activity, the shallowest decline since April.

Diane Wehrle, from footfall monitor Springboard, said the decrease represented "a clear deterioration" in performance from the 0.5% rise in Northern Ireland during August last year.

However, she said the August figures were still the strongest recorded here over the summer months.

The director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Aodhan Connolly, said while disappointing, the drop in footfall was not surprising, given the current atmosphere of political and economic uncertainty.

"The spectre of a no-deal Brexit looms ever larger as we head towards October 31 and even though we have gained £400m from the Chancellor's spending round, it will not fix the fundamental problems in Northern Ireland," he said.

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"We need ministers at the helm to make the bold decisions to support the needs of both households and businesses.

"Households are already feeling the financial strain due to the recent rises in domestic rates and minimum pension contributions.

"Intense competition amongst retailers is helping to keep prices on the shelves down, however, this will not be sustainable if there are tariffs, checks, delays and added costs due to a no-deal Brexit," Mr Connolly added.

Belfast Telegraph