Rushmere shopping centre has busiest Christmas in 42-year history
Co Armagh shopping centre Rushmere has said Christmas 2018 was its most successful festive trading period in its 42 years, with a 15% jump in shopper numbers.
The Craigavon shopping destination said the bumper trading followed a record surge in visitor numbers last month and over Christmas in particular.
Over the week from December 22 to December 29, there was a 15.1% increase in shopper numbers.
And across December as a whole, footfall was up just over 8.1% on the year before, with a rise of 7.9% in shoppers on New Year's Day.
Over the quarter October to December, footfall was up 13.6%.
Rushmere is the latest retail centre in Northern Ireland to defy an atmosphere of gloom on the UK high streets, with consumers increasingly shopping online and tightening their belts in the face of uncertainty over Brexit.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed an increase in footfall of 37.8% in Belfast's shops in the week starting December 24.
Rushmere is one of Northern Ireland's biggest shopping destinations, with 350,000 sq ft of covered mall space, and a 130,000 sq ft retail park.
New retailers and restaurants have opened premises there over the last few months, including burger chain Five Guys and peri-peri chicken chain Nando's, as well as fashion brands DV8 and Vogue.
Martin Walsh, Rushmere manager, said: "Footfall across the centre has been extremely positive, with double-digit rises for the key Christmas week, for December and for the full quarter.
"The final weekend before Christmas is always a bumper trading weekend and this year we enjoyed our busiest yet since we officially opened in 1976.
"Following a record 2018 and year-end, we're confidently looking forward to 2019 as we wish all our visitors and retailers a very happy and prosperous New Year."
Rushmere's other major retailers include Dunnes, Debenhams, TK Maxx and Sainsbury's. It's owned by Central Craigavon Ltd.