NI retail experiencing slump
Northern Ireland is experiencing a "black trading cloud" as the region experiences a sales slump combined with an increase in closures, according to the Norhtern Ireland Retail Consortium.
14 November 2017 | 0
High street and shopping centre retailers in Northern Ireland are experiencing what one expert calls a “black trading cloud”, after suffering a considerable 6.5% slump over the past month. The figure is gleaned from a new report by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC), via the Belfast Telegraph, which also revealed that footfall fell by 6.5% during October, compared to a 4.3% decline in September. This is the highest reduction in the UK, which experienced an average quarterly decrease of 4.3%.
The research also revealed that the number of empty retail units in Northern Ireland is rising. The UK national average vacancy rate is 9.3%, while in Northern Ireland it has reached 15.2%.
Aodhan Connolly, director of the NIRC, called the results “dreary”.
“Northern Ireland’s shop vacancy rate has pierced 15% for the first time in 15 months,” said Connolly, “while shopper footfall has flagged again, at a pace faster than witnessed over the past quarter.
“This is a cause for growing concern,” he said. “Retailers will be looking for convincing action to lift consumer spirits at a time when higher inflation and costs are eroding household spending power.”
At Belfast’s popular Victoria Center, footfall is down compared to 2016, but the shopping center showed positive sales growth over the Halloween period.