Lisburn and Belfast in Xmas 'store wars'

Published Monday, 19 November 2012
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Lisburn has launched its campaign to attract shoppers this Christmas with an advert that makes reference to traffic problems in other cities.

As the high street battle heats up, Lisburn City Council is urging people to "avoid the traffic jams and shop in Lisburn".

It comes after many motorists in Belfast complained about congestion following the introduction of new bus lanes in September.

Allan Ewart from Lisburn City Centre management described the tone of the advert as "tongue in cheek" - as he pointed out the advantages of shopping in the city.

"Christmas shopping is a stressful time," he told UTV.

"You don't want to be sitting in a traffic jam for a few hours or paying exorbitant rates for your parking and Lisburn is cheap - 60p an hour - and we've no traffic jams so hopefully people will come to Lisburn."

Joe Jordan from Belfast's Chamber of Commerce said the advert is ill-conceived.

"I'm not worried about the campaign," he said. "I think it's absolutely fantastic that Lisburn see Belfast as such a threat to draw people away from their city centre to our city centre."

However retail analyst Donald McFettridge said the advert could make a difference in the high stakes battle for Christmas trade.

"In the face of recent bad publicity surrounding traffic problems and congestion issues in Belfast pre-Christmas, it's probably reasonable to expect that (hopefully, when consumers do eventually get into their cars intent on some serious Christmas shopping), traffic issues and problems could possibly become much worse," he said.

"So, why not suggest Lisburn as an alternative?"

As Lisburn prepares for its Christmas switch-on this Thursday, Belfast was declared open for festive business at the weekend with the opening of the Christmas market.

It's an important time of year for all local traders with tough conditions and both cities will be hoping for a bright Christmas.

This spat comes after recent tensions between the cities over John Lewis, with suggestions Belfast could steal the flagship store away from Lisburn.

Belfast's park and ride facilities are in the process of being enhanced, but city centre bosses insist they won't be drawn into a tit-for-tat row with their nearest neighbour.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Karen Young in Coleraine wrote (513 days ago):
No traffic jams in Lisburn!!! I was at the Leisureplex and spend an hour getting out of the car park and Lisburn itself - drove back to Belfast and wasn't delayed at all. Belfast has variety, choice and is spectacular at Christmas. Lisburn would need to be giving the gifts away for me to visit it again....
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