Sunday 18 February 2018

Shops struggle as thousands cross Border for presents

Northern Irish shopping centres close to the border have seen an increase in the number of southern-registered cars parked outside them. Photo: Getty Images/Moment Open
Northern Irish shopping centres close to the border have seen an increase in the number of southern-registered cars parked outside them. Photo: Getty Images/Moment Open
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Shoppers are set to flock across the Border in their thousands to buy Christmas presents.

In addition, the collapse in sterling after the UK's vote to leave the EU is also hitting the sales in shops here.

One-in-four adults has already gone to Northern Ireland or the UK to shop.

These people now intend to buy again in the sterling area in the next three months, according to a survey carried out by iReach for media agency MediaCom.

Sterling is down almost a fifth in value against the euro since the summer referendum, making goods priced in pounds good value.

Most of those planning to head North or go to England will do so to buy presents for Christmas, the survey of 1,000 people shows. Other popular purchases in the sterling zone included clothing, followed by alcohol and groceries.

Electronic devices, cosmetics and toys were lower down on the list.

Northern Irish shopping centres close to the Border have seen an increase in the number of southern-registered cars parked outside them.

Shoppers said they compare prices in euro and sterling online before decided which purchases to travel to buy, the survey indicates. They then research which sterling outlet has the best deal before travelling to buy. This is known as "reverse-showrooming".

"This is alarming when you consider the larger online market, where more people are continuing to spend more money, and spend more often," Head of MediaCom Ireland Ian McGrath said.

Separate research from Visa Ireland shows there has been a sharp fall in the rate of increase in consumer spending.

Cautious

Spending in stores was down 0.4pc when compared with the same month last year, but online spending rose 15pc in the past year, according to the Visa Consumer Spending Index for October. Visa found that spending was up 4.3pc overall in October when account is taken of cash, cheques and electronic payments.

This was the weakest rise since May, 2015.

"There appears to be a Brexit-chill blowing in the Irish data of late. This is likely to be reflected in a more cautious consumer, but we have also seen a surge in cross-border shopping that will impact consumer spending at the margin," Economist with Goodbody Stockbrokers Dermot O'Leary said.

Irish Independent

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