Tuesday, 22nd May 2018
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Bumper Christmas Shopping bonanza

Waterford traders are forecasting a bumper Christmas shopping bonanza as thousands of eager shoppers pour into the City on a spending spree.

Speaking on behalf of Waterford Chamber members, CEO Gerald Hurley said: "While it is a little early to comment on exact figures, the feedback in general has been good from our retail members. Spend is up, particularly on individual items and footfall is strong. However, there is still a lot being lost to the likes of Dublin and Cork due a lack of the bigger brands. It is estimated that there is a 60% retail leakage in the region, which equates to €350 million in retail spend. Having said that, with the future plans for the likes of the North Quays and Michael Street, that issue will be addressed by attracting the household names. This will establish Waterford as a leading retail destination, benefiting all retailers in Waterford. There is a general call by retailers for some parking initiative coming up to Christmas, similar to Dundrum or Kilkenny, but overall optimism is good and there is a willingness to spend, which is certainly welcome."

Michael Garland, Chair Waterford business Group; "It is certainly good to see that the footfall across the City Centre appears to be holding its own. After what was a very slow and sluggish start to the festive period. But it was great to see a small, positive bounce, over the "Black Friday/Cyber Monday" weekend.

This, in no small part, was due to the huge collaborative efforts made, by the likes of the independent businesses, to make the whole weekend an attractive option. The additional support of paid promotions, on local radio, in local newspapers, supported by a social media campaign, also helped draw in additional regional shoppers.

Whilst footfall is terrific to see, this does not necessarily equate to increased revenues for hard pressed retailers and we all must be conscious of this. You only have to look at shoppers, meandering through the City Centre and see if they are carrying branded bags, to know if money is being spent.

Our economy is still very fragile and retail is one of our biggest employers. This a crucial time of the year for our City Centre businesses and supporting local is essential. After all, we all wish to see a vibrant, beating heart for Waterford.

Remember to live local, shop local and love local. We all know that it makes sense to support our own.

Happy Christmas to one and all."

Cllr Eddie Mulligan; "I am in the City Centre almost every day. I too am beginning to see the footfall traffic increasing for our retailers. The businesses in our City Centre employ over 1,500 people and it is vital that we give as much support as possible during this festive period.

A collective approach to promotion of the City Centre, as a retail destination, has without a shadow of a doubt worked brilliantly this year. Combining the collective might of participating retailers, to promote the Black Friday weekend has given many a boost, after a very disappointing start.

The key will be to keep that momentum going for the remainder of the Christmas period. I would ask that all our citizens think local first, before even considering the cost of travelling further afield, to look for gifts and presents.

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