North’s shopper numbers at bottom of UK league table

Even favourable euro/sterling exchange rates fail to halt retail slide across North in June

 People in the North are believed to be less confident about their economic future, which is impacting on their spending power. Photograph: PA Wire

People in the North are believed to be less confident about their economic future, which is impacting on their spending power. Photograph: PA Wire

 

Shopper numbers in the North fell to “rock bottom” of the UK league table last month, posting the fastest decline in footfall on high streets.

Even favourable euro/sterling exchange rates, which have in the past attracted shoppers from the South, failed to halt retail slides across Northern Ireland in June, according to the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC)/Springboard survey.

NIRC director Aodhán Connolly said the figures were particularly disappointing because there was an 0.8 per cent rise in average shopper footfall figures across the UK as a whole last month.

“Northern Ireland saw the fastest decline on the high street of all the nations/regions at -2.9 per cent. An identical fall of -2.9 per cent was seen in retail parks and a -1.9 per cent drop in shopping centres,” Mr Connolly said.

He believes people are less confident about their economic future, which is impacting on their spending power.

“What we need now is renewed consumer confidence and greater certainty about the future, and some political leadership would assist.

“The EU has been making progress on its Brexit position and, with formal negotiations started, there is no time to waste. As the only part of the UK that has a land border with the euro zone, we need the Westminster government to secure a fair Brexit for consumers in Northern Ireland by ensuring that ordinary shoppers aren’t hit with the cost of unwanted new tariffs.”