New jobs point to retail revival

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

Five new jobs are being created at the Letterkenny Retail Park amid indications that the town’s retail trade is experiencing a buoyant period.

Five new jobs are being created at the Letterkenny Retail Park amid indications that the town’s retail trade is experiencing a buoyant period.

Three new stores at fashion store Tempest in the retail park will officially open this Saturday. The store already employs over 50 people and is creating five new part time and full time jobs with the addition of the three new shops within the store.

Chief Executive of Letterkenny Chamber, Toni Forrester, said the development was good news in a more buoyant retail sector in Letterkenny.

With one store in the Retail Park set to close, she said the news at Tempest would help balance that out.

The strength of sterling against the euro is one of the factors helping traders in the town, she said. “Quite a lot of the shop-owners are saying its very busy. It is not going to hit the highs of 2006 but things are steadily increasing. We are starting to see sterling coming in and it is hard to say with people using cards, but we definitely don’t have the leakage across the border that we used to have and there are more Northern Ireland cars coming in. Part of that is to do with UK inflation and the price of petrol. The €1.25 rate that a lot of the shops is doing is a incentive and they are trying to make the most of that. But people have less money to spend and if they spend it here it is good for us.”

Michelle Yeates, manager of Menarys - which owns Tempest - said the addition of the international brand names of Vero Moda, Vila and Only will be a welcome addition to the store.

The three brands are replacing three shops which closed earlier this year but she said the closures did not bring job losses at Tempest. “For Letterkenny in the current climate it is not bad going,” she said.

“Our footfall is about the same as this time last year but there is a much higher spend per customer than a year or 18 months ago. The people who are coming out are coming out to buy. Sterling has helped. We have also seen a big increase in the number of non-locals in the town shopping. There are more tourists about and they are spending money.”