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Monday 19 February 2018

Chilled-out shoppers flock to stores

Fiona Ellis

Ellie O'Connell and Nicole Hughes from the Rathdown School Choir at the opening of the Fitzwilliam Square Christmas Market in Dublin. The market will run every day until December 23. Joe Keogh

UNDER-pressure retailers are breathing a sigh of relief as shoppers flock back to stores across the country after the big freeze.

With less than 12 shopping days left until Christmas, retailers and businesses have reported up to a 30pc increase in footfall compared with the same time last week.

Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan said: "The weekend, as I understand it, has been quite good and footfall has been up in all cities.

"Last weekend, the city centres were hit badly. Business was down by 25pc to 35pc depending on the type and location of retailers, and in some cases up to 50pc."

But with icy conditions no longer confining people to their homes, shoppers were out in force at the weekend.

Stephen Sealey, managing director of Brown Thomas in Dublin city centre, said: "In the week of the snow, our business was down 20pc. However, today and yesterday people are back out shopping and we're making up some of that shortfall.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said footfall was down a third in the capital during the cold spell.

All across the country city centres were seeing a noteworthy increase in the amount of shoppers on the streets.

"We have definitely seen a huge increase in the number of shoppers in Limerick city over the weekend," said Chamber of Commerce Limerick director Sean Lally.

In Galway city centre the crowds were causing so much traffic chaos the city council had to put a park-and-ride into operation to ease congestion.

"There has been a huge difference in the volume of traffic into Galway city. I would estimate it at a 20-30pc increase on last week," said Geoff Kinsella of Galway Chamber of Commerce.

But Mr Denihan estimates that €250m worth of shopping that would have been done was lost last week. "Impulse buying that didn't happen just won't happen," he said.

Irish Independent

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