The Chief Executive of Derry’s Chamber of Commerce , Sinead McLaughlin, has urged festive shoppers to support local businesses this year - or risk them not being here next Christmas.
Issuing her ‘Use them or lose them’ Appeal, Ms. McLaughlin said loyalty to local shopkeepers was “essential” and that people should look closer to home for their Christmas shopping instead of at “a faceless multi-national which has no local presence.”
While Ms. McLaughlin said she, and all at the Chamber, were delighted to see the increased activity in the city centre over recent weeks, it was vitally important that the city continues to attract shoppers from further afield and locals alike, to part with their hard earned cash in Derry.
“It is clear from the queues of cars coming into the city centre in recent weekends that many people are shopping in Derry this year.
“Indeed, it seems as if the city is winning back many customers who, perhaps, shopped elsewhere in recent years, or who had sourced their Christmas shopping list on the internet.”
Ms. McLaughlin said it was clear shoppers were “recognising the positives of city centre shopping that the internet cannot match.”
“Dropping into a cafe for a tea, or a restaurant for a meal is part of making a shopping experience a pleasure rather than a chore.
“And part of Derry’s transformation in recent years has been about the improvement in public spaces, plus the plethora of quality new cafes and restaurants.
“Our retailers, bars and hotels have struggled over recent years. Many traders are now seeing their way out of bad times, but they still need customer loyalty.
“So the message of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce is – please shop local this Christmas.”
Her comments were echoed by Jim Roddy, City Centre Manager, who supported a new initiative by Translink to bring more people into the city this Christmas, saying: “We encourage everyone to use public transport this Christmas and enjoy shopping in Derry.
“The city has so much to offer and I’ve no doubt that shoppers will find those special gifts they’re looking for this year.”