Brexit footfall boost for Quays Shopping Centre in Newry

Footfall at The Quays shopping centre in Newry has jumped by over a quarter according to new figures.
Gareth McKeown

FOOTFALL at Newry's premier shopping destination, The Quays has jumped by over a quarter, boosted by Brexit and the completion of a £20 million development.

New data from the shopping centre shows that footfall climbed by 28.9 per cent in April, compared to the same month last year and early indications suggest the momentum will continue into May.

The increase follows the completion of the £20m phase five development of the centre which saw 100,000 sq ft of retail space added to the existing 375,000 sq ft site. The latest development led to major brands Marks & Spencer and Pure Gym becoming new tenants at the Newry centre.

Senior director at CBRE, Colin Mathewson believes Newry's location close to the border is helping draw in retailers.

“Shoppers have been flooding into the city from the surrounding district and, crucially, from across the border as canny buyers from the Republic take advantage of the weaker pound versus the euro to snap up a bargain," he said.

“Geography has, in this instance, played a big part with the city's location on the eastern seaboard of Ireland able to draw on a growing and affluent catchment population of 1.3m which has easy road, rail and bus access to its very heart and which sits midway between both Belfast and Dublin.”

He said rather than hinder performance, Brexit is in fact boosting retail in Newry, with prominent retailers at the centre, including Debenhams, Topshop, H&M and River Island, reaffirming their commitment to the city.

“There's no doubt that in a broader context, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has acted as a drag on growth elsewhere in the Northern Ireland economy, but in many instances businesses are nevertheless managing to put in strong performances. That is the case for the retail sector in Newry, although it is blessed with the added advantage that the weaker pound is helping to drive custom and draw big names to the city."

“So, while the decision to leave the European Union may be holding some sectors back, for the retailers of Newry the last couple of years have grown increasingly busy and the next few years will be a time to make hay," he added.

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