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Footfall drops 2.6pc for south's shoppers

The effects of the snow on December shopping activity was not as severe in the south as it was in Northern Ireland.

Footfall activity in the south fell 2.6pc in December compared to a 9.3pc fall in NI. Over the last quarter of the year NI footfall fell 7.2pc in a year-on-year basis compared to a 1.1pc fall in the south.

Mark Anderson, head of sales at Experian Ireland, which conducted the survey, explained: "It is possible that those southern shoppers who were visiting NI to take advantage of the value there have now stopped travelling due to increased VAT and fuel prices."

On the other hand he says that online-only retailers have typically benefited from Christmas shoppers. "Now most high-street brands also have a presence on the web, which has the potential to dilute footfall as people are able to do their browsing and increase their shopping from home."

Overall footfall trends were relatively consistent throughout 2010, recording an average decrease of 1.3pc on 2009.