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Good News Friday – Busy Christmas trade provides strong outlook for 2022!

It’s the first Good News Friday of 2022 and this week we celebrate the strong Christmas trading period!

The festive period is traditionally a fantastic success for local businesses, and despite disruption posed by the pandemic in the last few years, this Christmas has seen trade begin to return to normal. Spurred on by the High Street Voucher, shoppers showed their support to local businesses across the North West with high sales seen among a range of sectors with footfall continuing to grow.

One particular success story has been seen in Foyleside Shopping Centre home to retail stores from our region and beyond. Fergal Rafferty, Shopping Centre Manager, said, “Foyleside had a particularly pleasing Christmas period, especially with all of the new retailers that arrived in 2021. The likes of Waterstones, Regatta, BPerfect, Butlers, Frasers, Sports Direct, and ECCO have joined us at Foyleside, each of them surpassing their sales expectations for the festive period.

Despite a surge in e-commerce and online shopping in recent years, Fergal says “there is still a strong appetite for high street shopping, and while footfall numbers were slightly down, sales in many stores met or exceeded 2019 figures!” The Spend Local cards may have had a hand in this growth but given the success of the vaccine rollout and with no lockdown restrictions envisioned, we may see a permanent growth in consumer confidence on our high streets.

“We want to acknowledge and thank our loyal customers who have really supported the city centre and Foyleside in the last quarter and, in particular, the added bonus of the High Street Voucher Scheme”, Fergal said. Looking forward to the year ahead, he added “There are several more retail spaces due to be occupied in our Centre, and we look forward with anticipation to new store arrivals in 2022 to add to our already eclectic mix of retailers.”

The pandemic has now entered its third year, and despite the hardship we all continue to face, the year ahead presents opportunities for development, growth, and success. From the first vaccines being administered just over 12 months ago, to the current booster programme, we have come a long way. As a Chamber community, we will continue to support each other in dealing with the current and future challenges ahead of us.