NI shoppers gain renewed confidence

Published Monday, 18 March 2013
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Footfall figures in Northern Ireland have improved following the unrest over flags.

NI shoppers gain renewed confidence
Roads were blocked during the protests. (© Pacemaker)

February saw an "encouraging" increase of 2.6% compared to the same month last year, the NI Retail Consortium said.

It was higher than the UK average rise of 0.8% and second only to the Greater London region.

The success was put down in part to the Backin' Belfast campaign, which was aimed at restoring confidence in city centre after the Union flag protests last year.

Aodhán Connolly of the NIRC said: "There are signs here that after a very disappointing December and January, shoppers are now starting to gain a renewed confidence.

"This is partly due to the Back In Belfast campaign which the NIRC is supportive of and which has been a huge success, as well as the weeks of peace that we have had.

"These figures are encouraging for retailers large and small across Northern Ireland."

The loyalist protests started in December after Belfast City Council changed its flag-flying policy at City Hall to designated days. Shops were left empty over the typically busy Christmas period and businesses claimed upwards of £15m was lost to the city.

Mr Connelly welcomed the turnaround which has taken place in the past few weeks but said there can be no room for complacency.

He continued: "Northern Ireland has a great retail mix with something different to offer in each of our towns and cities.

"However we must not be complacent with what is happening in the high street. We look forward to working with government at all levels in the coming months to look at issues as diverse as car parking, rates, regeneration and planning."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Bob in Manchester wrote (679 days ago):
Belfast is part of Britain??? No it's not. Britain is England, Scotland & Wales....Many people from N.I could do with some geography lessons along with some history lessons. You haven't got a clue.
Jim in Belfast wrote (679 days ago):
The Backin' Belfast has certainly helped but credit were credit is due, the PSNI long waited decision to confront illegal protests has made a difference. Well Done!
James in London wrote (679 days ago):
Belfast is NOT part of Britain. Never will be.
Mike in Belfast wrote (679 days ago):
'British and proud' in Belfast and all those other apologists for Loyalist violence, can I just point out that advocating the flying of the flag 365 days a year is not British. In fact it is regarded as very bad form and disrespectful. If you knew anything about the protocols of flag flying like you claim then you may be qualified to comment. However, you seem to be commenting from a position of ignorance and showing just how un-British you actually are. Perhaps you should educate yourself before commenting and making a fool of yourself.
realistic in planet earth wrote (679 days ago):
@british and proud........ if you were that british and that proud surely you would know that NI is not part of britian, but part of the UK, doh! :)........ back on topic all big city shops are in a very difficult time, high overheads, parking charges and the pure conveinience of the internet have, and will continue, to hit them hard. people's shopping habits are changing........ :)
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