more shoppers appear to be buying local this Christmas, two Chambers of Commerce report.
Patrick McGinley, President of the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce told the Donegal Democrat/People’s Press yesterday: “Sterling has got very strong and it appears that more people are shopping closer to home this year. We also have some new stores that opened recently in Letterkenny and that’s endorsing LK as a shopping town. Smyths Toy Store opened three weeks ago and that’s been a big boost for us, as I think it was a draw that brought people across the border in the past. And we’ve had some multi-nationals that have opened recently, which has definitely generated interest.
“A number of pop up shops have opened here as well over the last few weeks, specifically for the Christmas season. That’s all added to the sense of confidence and bustle and excitement in the town. Anything that endorses Letterkenny as a shopping town is great. As Letterkenny gets stronger, it makes people less likely to go across the border. The big supermarkets have brought the cost of wine down, generally speaking, by about 25% too and that’s made a big difference. Another important factor is that nearly €1m in Shop LK Vouchers have already been sold this year. A lot of the big multi-nationals are buying them to give to their staff, as it’s a tax effective scheme. This all has the added benefit of keeping the money in the town.”
Bernie Mulhern, Chairperson of Donegal Community Chamber of Commerce, agrees that a lot of people are ‘shopping local’. “It’s very hard to gauge out on the street, but certainly it does seem to be very busy in some of the shops. Shop owners have gone to a lot of trouble this year to put out special offers and give very good value. Last year, the bad weather meant that a lot of people couldn’t travel to shop but this year people seem satisfied to stay closer to home. Between the strength of sterling, the cost of petrol and the good value to be had here, I think many are deciding that it’s just not worth travelling to shop.”