A RECORD-beating Christmas and holiday season at Tralee's Manor West Retail Park has led to renewed optimism for the year ahead among the busy shopping centre's management and tenants.
Manor West, Kerry's largest shopping centre and retail park, usually attracts around 90,000 shoppers a week but in the run up to Christmas and during the post holiday sales that weekly figure jumped by a third to a staggering 120,000 visitors a week.
Centre Manager, Derek Rusk is forecasting another good year for retail at the Retail Park Centre in 2014.
"Footfall has shown a marked increase year-on-year from late August on and tenants are already reporting that Christmas 2013 was one of the busiest yet," he said.
"This bodes well for the future. It has been an extremely challenging time for retail in Ireland but I have seen first-hand a greater spirit of consumer confidence on the ground in the shopping centre and retail park, and 2014 has all the signs so far of being a strong one for us here in Manor West and for Tralee and Kerry in general," he added.
"There is an air that the 'heavy lifting' of the past few years due to the recession is hopefully out of the way and that consumer confidence is creeping back in gradually. "
"We are seeing this in footfall and, at long last, at the tills. We are going into 2014 with a quiet confidence that we haven't seen in years," said Mr Rusk.