Town’s festive boom boosted by Brexit

Walter Cuddy
Walter Cuddy

Dungannon’s independent traders are reporting a Christmas boom in sales due to the slide in sterling and bargain hunters from the South.

Claire O’Connor, owner of fashion boutique Saretta in Moy, said the sudden drop in sterling had led to an influx of customers from over the border.

“Last year, the savings for Southern shoppers were not so good, but from the summer things have flipped round and we’ve had a rush of customers from over the border.

“They know that they can make big savings in the run-up to Christmas.”

However, she added that since most of her carefully curated fashion stock comes from the Eurozone, the boom in sales is at least partially offset by the higher cost of the clothes.

Claire said she was hoping for a repeat of last year’s long queues of zealous customers outside her shop in the days before Christmas.

UUP Councillor Walter Cuddy said that whereas Dungannon did not get the same volumes of customers from down south as border towns such as Newry and Enniskillen, there was still an increase in spending.

“We have two new businesses opening in the Square, and there is an expectation that more are on their way. There is a sense that the town is buzzing again and the downturn has finally bottomed out.

“The changes to the pedestrian and traffic flow proposed next year and new parking spaces will hopefully give the town centre a fresh boost.”

Cross-border shopping is at a six-year high with some Northern Ireland retailers reporting an annual sales increase of more than 60%.