Southern shoppers flocking from as far away as Cork

Erneside Shopping Centre, Enniskillen RMG30

Erneside Shopping Centre, Enniskillen RMG30

FERMANAGH experienced something of a mini-economic boom at the weekend, as shoppers from the South flocked across the border for the Halloween holiday weekend.
With the bank holiday taking place in the South on Monday, registration plates from counties as far away as Cork could be found parked in towns across Fermanagh, while southern brogues could be heard in every corner of the county. 
A taxi from Dublin was even spotted parked on Belmore Street in Enniskillen on Monday, showing the lengths some shoppers will go to get a bargain. 
While the impending Brexit is still threatening to send the economy into a tailspin, for the time being the ever-weakening Pound against the Euro is providing a much needed boost for local businesses. In fact, according to one local business leader, footfall in local shops is up by almost 50 per-cent on this time last year. 
Jim Masterson, manager of Erneside Shopping Centre, said: “Footfall is up, between Saturday and Sunday, about 45 per-cent on the same weekend last year. We don’t have our Monday figures yet, but with Halloween falling on the Monday, I would expect it to be even higher.”
“It’s been very, very busy,” he added, saying the centre’s Halloween festivities also help boost trade.  “The southern shoppers would just be the tip of the iceberg, we also get an influx of people on weekend breaks, who are down from Bangor and Belfast, and in terms of local  people who are tending to stay around a bit more as well. They’re not getting the value they had been.”
Mr Masterson said over all, footfall at the centre was up around seven per-cent this year, and was continuing to grow, 
Fiona Martin, project officer with Fermanagh Enterprise who represent scores of small businesses including many traders, said: “It’s wonderful to see people coming to Fermanagh. It’s fantastic. 
“You can tell how busy it is just by the traffic at the weekend. It’s wonderful to see.”
“A lot of our clients would normally be targeting the southern market, so it’s wonderful to see so many southern shoppers coming to the county.”
Ms Martin, who said Fermanagh Enterprise had been seeing a small increase in the number of start-up companies locally in the past year, added the shoppers from the South were integral to the county’s economy. 
“If we hadn’t had the southern trade over the past few years, Fermanagh would’ve been very, very badly hit.”

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