New Year shopping surge for Donegal businesses

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A surge in post-Christmas shopping in Buncrana has been welcomed by traders, the ‘Journal’ has learnt.

And now with the rise in VAT in the North this month one shop keeper is predicting 2011 is going to be a good year for local businesses with Derry shoppers flocking to the peninsula to avail of cheaper deals.

Brendan Callaghan, of Callaghan Jewellers in the town, and a representative of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, told the ‘Journal’ business has been ‘brisk’ since the snow went away.

And, he said it’s a combination of people out looking for bargains and others out simply to shop after enduring ‘cabin fever’ for so long.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ he said: “I think it’s a case that the whole of the North West was hindered with the snow and I am sure everybody in their own towns shopped locally over Christmas because you just couldn’t get out.

“We all had cabin fever.

“In regards to post Christmas things have been brisk and this is to be welcomed.

“I think people are just happy to get out, personally I don’t have a sale but I find that businesses are a lot brisker with us.

“Some shoppers are coming out that obviously couldn’t get out the door prior to Christmas.

“A lot of our Derry customers would be coming here to avail of the generous sterling rate as well.”

And it’s Derry customers Mr Callaghan reckons will be flocking to the seaside town in the New Year thanks to the British Government’s VAT rise coupled with the rising sterling to euro rate.

He said a documentary recently aired on TV3 highlighted the real differences in the price of products in the North and South.

The programme focused on price comparisons in Dublin and Newry and found that the North was just 18 euro cheaper to Southern prices.

But, Mr Callaghan said when the price of petrol is added coupled with the VAT difference there will be no benefit for Inishowen shoppers to travel to the North at all.

He added: “With the VAT rate going up it would probably be reversed and shopping in the south would be cheaper.

“People have this image that everything is much more cheaper in the North but that’s just not the case.”