AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail stores brace themselves for a two-week
lockdown just on the back of the Christmas surge in the lead up to
Families right across Fermanagh have been busy getting their Santa orders in early this year, with fears that restrictions could be
extended past the initial two weeks before Christmas.
For Paul Doherty, Manager of Toytown Enniskillen, orders have been coming in thick and fast, as he revealed that shopping earlier this year “seems to be a major theme.”
Speaking to the Herald he explained, “It certainly seems to be a theme that parents are starting their Christmas lists earlier this year and we’re trying to keep the process as normal as possible.
“We feel more comfortable maintaining the one way system in our store and I think customers will find that reassuring as we approach the Christmas time rush.
“We limit the number allowed into the store at any given time to 12
and we lock the door to ensure that the capacity does not spill over
Elsewhere just across the border, last minute shoppers queued the
streets to stock up on toys, health food and face masks just before
their six week long lockdown which will end next week.
While Enniskillen is renowned for its cross-border trade during this time of year, current travel restrictions imposed in the South has drastically altered the number of shoppers allowed into the North.
When asked about the impact this has had, Paul explained, “The worry is that only 12 short miles away in the South, toy stores have been shut down until the start of December.
“People particularly in this border area are aware of what’s happening just down the road and now the fear is here too with a further two-week lockdown that has forced the closure of non-essential retail stores until December 11.”
He added, “We might begin to see some difference in trade here because up until this week we’ve had a steady flow across the border since we reopened.
“In fact we have been trading above our figures from last year, so
part of that might be people are shopping earlier and it will balance
With fears that a surge in panic buying could prompt a shortage of
stock closer to December, Paul said, “In terms of stock the rate has
been coming in at a steady flow.
“In fact we have hired extra staff just to cope with the Christmas
demand which is very positive for local employment.
“We’ve just had our second delivery for this week which is quite early for it be so busy and having to ramp-up deliveries.
“At Toytown we are focused on giving that special piece of Christmas magic to youngsters who have already been through so much this year.”
Despite the uncertainty of restrictions and what this Christmas may bring for families, Paul wanted to reassure Toytown customers.
“Come the end of lockdown, we will be here and ready to open just as we did before, so hopefully that will give everyone a boost and some reassurance over the next few weeks,” he told the Herald.
“In fact, it would seem that lockdown had its positives and altered
the way of family life as this year we are seeing the return of more
traditional toys to be popular so far, such as farming equipment and other outdoor toys which could be the result of many families having to entertain themselves and make use of their surroundings during lockdown.”
The Toytown franchise will continue to trade via its online and
delivery services throughout the next two weeks, while stores remain closed due to Government advice.
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