Belfast Telegraph

Number of shoppers falls 6%

The number of shoppers in Northern Ireland last month was 6% lower than a year ago, new figures show.

Consumer sentiment has fallen behind the rest of the UK despite some recovery, the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium said.

Traders have reported positive signs this month as Belfast is busy with festive present buyers.

Consortium director Aodhan Connolly said: "Footfall levels have seen some slight recovery compared against October but that is small comfort when the drop is still so steep and lagging well behind the UK average.

"With the countdown to Christmas now well under way, retailers in Northern Ireland will hope that footfall returns to more positive territory during December."

In November shopper numbers in Northern Ireland were 6% lower than a year ago, an improvement on the near 10% decline in October. These figures are lower than the UK as a whole, where numbers were down almost 3%.

Paul McMahon, president of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and director of the Castlecourt shopping centre, has said the indications were that Christmas would be positive and strong.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs Of Ulster, said the city's bars were thriving.

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