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Traders look forward to bargain-hunter bonanza

Our new life outside Europe... your guide to how things are likely to change

By Yvette Shapiro

The most immediate impact of the Brexit vote will be felt by border shopkeepers who are in line for a retail boost thanks to the sharp drop in the value of the pound.

By the end of currency market trading yesterday, the euro was worth 81 pence, up from 77 pence before the EU referendum result. With the spending power of southern shoppers on the rise, retailers in Newry and Londonderry were standing by for an influx of bargain hunters from the Republic.

"The city centre depends on how sterling and the euro perform on the currency markets and there will be a bonus for our shopkeepers," said Gavin Killeen, president of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. "The Donegal euro will come back again and that will be to the benefit of our retailers, hotels and restaurants. But obviously it will be a temporary situation."

In Northern Ireland's other border city, Newry, traders are also looking forward to welcoming back southern shoppers who once flooded across the frontier, causing long queues of traffic and packing out shopping centre carparks.

"In the short term, as the euro goes further against the pound, there will be an influx of shoppers from the Republic," predicted Mary Meehan from Newry Chamber of Commerce. "Traders here are well used to these fluctuations in currency and while it will be beneficial to our members we would want to see urgency on the part of the Bank of England to stabilise the currency and instil confidence."

Business owners along the border, though, are worried about the restoration of checkpoints and how this could hamper retail trade.

"We hope that common sense prevails and the Taoiseach will work closely with the British government to make sure that doesn't happen," said Ms Meehan. "The very last thing our members would want to see are border controls. But we are resilient and we will cope with whatever is thrown at us."

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