Christmas trade hit by increased online sales

Online trading and the value of sterling influenced Christmas trading

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Online trading and a drop in the value of sterling against the euro were factors influencing Christmas trading in Donegal and elsewhere this year.
Across the county there were reports that business was steady, but it was also acknowledged that online sales are impacting on many businesses.

The CEO of Letterkenny Chamber, Toni Forrester, said many independent retailers had invested in online sales themselves to complement their offline operation and this had ensured they enjoyed good turnover. She noted that based on the value being offered in Letterkenny, many people had “stayed local” to do their shopping.

Traffic congestion in Letterkenny was referenced regularly throughout Christmas on social media and traffic reports from national radio stations mentioned tailbacks getting into Letterkenny on some of their updates.

Ms Forrester said people expected traffic to busy at Christmas: “People expect traffic during the Christmas period. The management in the Retail Park and Letterkenny Shopping Centre had measures in place to minimise disruption. In addition, the high visibility of An Garda Síochána also helped.”

In Donegal Town the Vice-Chairperson of the local Community Chamber, Ernan McGettigan, said tat trade was “on par” with other years and added that he was very positive about the future outlook for Donegal Town.

National radio stations mentioned tailbacks getting into Letterkenny on some of their updates.
Ms Forrester said people expected traffic to be busy at Christmas.
She said: “People expect traffic during the Christmas period. The management in the Retail Park and Letterkenny Shopping Centre had measures in place to minimise disruption. In addition, the high visibility of An Garda Síochána also helped.”
In Donegal Town the Vice-Chairperson of the local Community Chamber, Ernan McGettigan, said that trade was “on par” with other years and added that he was very positive about the future outlook for Donegal Town.
He said: “The bistros and bars were busy during the Christmas period. You had a large number of visitors at home for Christmas too so that added to it. The butchers in Donegal Town did very well too.”

Quiet time
Mr McGettigan said he envisaged the trading in the town to continue for a while following Christmas as most of January and February can be a quiet time for retailers.
He added that 2019 was full of promise for Donegal Town with major projects being undertaken on the outskirts of the town which signified the geographical spread of the town.
Meanwhile, the general manager of the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran, Philip McGlynn, said that business for hotel trade increases significantly from the period spanning from December 27 to January 5.
He said: “The period between December 27 and January 5 is exceptionally busy. Families tend to come away together during that period. You could have up to forty members of one family stay during this period,” he said.
He said the hotel business was aided this year by the fact that the weather remained ‘fair’ in Donegal.
He said that many people enjoyed walks and played golf in the mornings and in the evenings.
Children enjoyed playing with their Christmas toys outside the hotel enjoying the mild weather.
“Over the past ten years, you have families coming here and as a result, their families continue to come.
“We tend to have the same people return year after year,” he said.

READ MORE: Almost half of the businesses that trade across the border are growing

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