Business and civic leaders in Derry have stressed the importance of shopping in the city rather than online this Christmas.
Derry’s Mayor Kevin Campbell and the city’s Chamber of Commerce have both called on people to shop local over the festive period.
The Mayor says that, during current difficult economic times, it is important local retailers and traders are supported.
“We are in a difficult economic situation at the moment and retailers are struggling to stay in business and the onus is on all of us to buy our Christmas gifts and festive foods from our local shops and traders.
“By encouraging people to shop locally, we are putting money back into our local economy which, in turn, will benefit all of us in terms of sustaining local business, services and jobs.”
He says Derry City Council is actively promoting Derry as a city break destination “offering a wide retail choice across all regions in the North West and beyond.”
He added: “Our retailers offer the highest quality and good value produce, making it easy for us to sell Derry across the region as a good place to shop this Christmas.
“The addition of the Christmas Continental Market at Guildhall Square will further enhance our retail offering, allowing visitors and locals alike to enjoy a continental Christmas experience.
“We are confident that the market, which has a number of local traders taking part, will be a huge draw in attracting shoppers from across the region which will, in turn, have a positive knock-on event for traders in the city centre, particularly those in Shipquay Street and Waterloo Place who will benefit from the additional footfall from the market.”
Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, joined the plea for people to shop locally this Christmas.
“Christmas is the most important season for lots of retailers - they need a good trade now to see them through the rest of the year. We are beginning to see new businesses opening up in parts of the city centre that had been neglected - this is obvious in Waterloo Street and Carlisle Road, for example. This is to be welcomed and those new businesses and our loyal retailers deserve our support. Buying locally - if enough of us do it - can ensure that we have a city centre and neighbourhood areas that feel alive, healthy and safe.
“We began to see the alternative of areas of closed shops and decline. Let us hope that we have now turned our backs on that nightmare threat.”
The shop local call comes as Derry Credit Union revealed its members will pump around £5million into the local economy.
At the organisation’s AGM last week, the Abbey Street Credit Union revealed that with a higher surplus of just over £3million, and Christmas withdrawals in excess of £2million, members will be making a significant contribution to the local economy.
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