‘Mixed bag’ for Derry Christmas traders with shoppers urged to ‘stay local and buy local’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It has been a ‘mixed bag’ for Derry’s traders with business representatives urging the public to ‘stay local, buy local and support local employment’ in the last few days before Christmas.

Trade leaders said the adverse economic headwinds of recent years have had a negative impact on shoppers’ spending power.

Anna Doherty, Chief Executive of Derry Chamber said: “Its been a mixed bag for our members during this year’s Christmas trading period. Certainly, the picture that is emerging is that some businesses are experiencing a busy season, but others are noticing a drop in sales compared to previous years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Some city centre traders have said to us that they have had a much quieter Christmas period than they are used to, or that customers who are coming in are spending less money.

Some retailers have reported a quieter Christmas than normal.Some retailers have reported a quieter Christmas than normal.
Some retailers have reported a quieter Christmas than normal.

“With less disposable income, it is obvious that people are thinking more carefully this year about how and where they spend money.”

Jim Roddy, City Centre Initiative Manager, said hospitality has been reporting good turnover but it has been slower for retail.

“It's been really decent in the bars and restaurants and the night-time economy, with people coming to the city.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The hotels are saying they have been doing good business but retail hasn't seen the surge we would have liked to see just yet. There are a few days to go and we really hope it gets the shot in the arm that it needs.”

Anna Doherty, Chief Executive of Derry Chamber.Anna Doherty, Chief Executive of Derry Chamber.
Anna Doherty, Chief Executive of Derry Chamber.

The inclement weather on Thursday and the transport strike on Friday are likely to dampen trade.

Mr. Roddy noted how the disposable income of striking workers has diminished due to inflation levels over recent years that have not been seen in decades.

"Whilst we see the inflation figures going down, it is still on the increase. What is it down to now? 3.9 per cent? That's still 3.9 per cent up. All those workers who feel they have to go on strike, they are not getting rises of 3.9 per cent. It is still flowing against the ordinary person on the street.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
62 Christmas advertisements that appeared in the Derry Journal in 1923
Jim Roddy Derry city centre manager.Jim Roddy Derry city centre manager.
Jim Roddy Derry city centre manager.

With less money in people’s pockets retailers are being squeezed.

"The price of goods, the minimum wage has gone up a lot in the last few years so the price of employing people has gone up. The cost of buying in the products has gone up.

"Your business rates, your heating, your light, all it takes to run a business, have increased as well, so if there is any downfall in footfall it is like a double whammy.”

Ms. Doherty said the regional political vacuum was bad for business.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“With the prospect of further strikes on the horizon around public sector pay, and the lack of a local Executive, we would urge political leaders to do everything they can to secure an agreement that restores devolution and local decision-making to Northern Ireland as soon as possible,” she said.

Mr. Roddy said it is ‘pivotal for retailers to have a good Christmas’.

“If they do well it sustains them through the year so we just really hope people can get out over the next couple of days and get the Christmas shopping done and leave retailers in a decent place and have a good Christmas themselves,” said Mr. Roddy, urging shoppers to ‘stay local, buy local and keep local people employed’.

Related topics: