Cracking Christmas

Inishowen had a great Christmas. Some estimates reckon trade was up by a massive 30 per cent on last year.

In a follow up yesterday to our pre-Christmas report on trading in the peninsula the general consensus was business had gone even better than orginally predicted.

Deirdre Bradley, of Elegance in Carndonagh, commented: “It was absolutely terrific. We had our best Christmas in years. Traders sold an absolute fortune of ‘Carn vouchers’ and I know more had to be ordered in. That was a hugely successful initative in that many people gave the vouchers as gifts.

“I would also think that many people made the deliberate decision to shop local. That too was a big factor. I think that people are acting in a more socially conscious way, aware that supporting local shops could make a massive difference to our future well-being as a community.”

On a personal level she said she was ‘very, very pleased with trade at Elegance. “It was our first Christmas trading so I have nothing to compare it against but we did well. I’m really delighted.

Ciaran Doherty, of Supervalu, Buncrana said: “Trade was very, very strong. The sterling rate was a big factor, but the value in store also plays a major part. It really was an excellent Christmas for us. I also think that Christmas falling on the Sunday meant we had an extra day for shopping; Saturday was very, very busy for us.”

Lorraine Carey, of LC Clothing in Buncrana, said the whole concept of shopping local was really beginning to click in.

“Years ago when ‘Shop Irish’ campaigns were launched I think they mostly went over people’s heads; they thought ‘that’s got nothing to do with me’. Now they know that’s not the case. When you shop local you’re not making some fat cat retailer rich you are making a contribution to keeping jobs in your own community, a community that might one day provide employment and a livelihood for your child.”

As regards trade, Ms Carey said it was much improved on recent years.

“It was a big improvement, and I would know from talking to people in Derry that there is a massive drop off in ‘euro customers’

But she said traders were also having to trade smart.

“We also are all living and learning. For example, here in LC Clothing we source a lot of our clothing from unique manufacturers in France in Spain. Our lines are original. You won’t find our clothes on the internet or in any of the big chain stores. Indeed, one of the first thing I ask my suppliers is if they do internet sales. If they do, I walk away. It’s pointless trying to compete with someone who can out sell you.

“The positive at my end is that we have top of the range clothing, at a competitive price that no one locally has in stock. That’s a hell of a good selling point.”

In Donegal’s largest trading town, Letterkenny, Toni Forrester, CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce said, “The town was very busy in the final couple of days and it was certainly up overall compared to last year.”

Ms. Forrester added: “The shop local message as well as the strength of the sterling against the euro means that a lot more people are now consciously opting to shop in Donegal rather than cross the border.

“People are beginning to realise that if they shop locally then they will protect jobs locally.”