Local Wexford businesses thrive this Christmas
WEXFORD is back in business as local traders report a spike in activity through 2016 and into the New Year.
Retail outlets on the town's main thoroughfare say they were exceptionally busy throughout the festive season and during the New Year sales, and that business was up on the same period last year, continuing a trend that began as long ago as last Easter.
Some shop owners say tourism has contributed to this, with a number of visitors returning two or three times in the year, but there are some worries that given the rise in the value of the euro, there will be be fewer buyers from the UK on the streets in 2017.
Westgate Design owner Catherine Jordan says they are doing very well. 'Our restaurant has increased in business compared to last year,' she says, suggesting that additional fashion ranges are bringing extra business into the popular store and restaurant.
Ladies fashion outlet Pamela Scott report a spike in sales over the last nine months.
'One thing I have noticed is the amount of tourists we have this year,' says Pamela Scott's Helen Williams. 'We see the same tourists here two or three times a year.'
Sam McCauley's say they have been extremely busy. 'We had to order in more supplies this year,' says Nicholas McGuire of the pharmacy chain's North Main Street store. 'Our customers were coming looking for items that we had sold out of.'
Nigel Pierce of Charles Pierce Menswear on South Main Street says it has been very busy all year and the trend is continuing. 'Yes, we have been doing good the past year,' he says. 'Our sales have definitely increased.'
Linda McLoughlin in Barkers giftware shop across the street observes that in 2016 the town was 'more atmospheric' than previous years.
And the mood was also upbeat at another family business, Hores Stores, just down the street.
'Business has been exceptionally busy through Christmas and right up until now,' says Padraig Hore. 'I have noticed that there is an improvement in confidence amongst our shoppers.'
There is one potential spoiler, as Brexit is a real worry for local shop owners.
'We have to be patient and allow Brexit to evolve,' says Madeleine Quirke, Wexford Chamber CEO. 'Our Support Local campaign will no doubt be tested in light of intensified price competition from lower priced imports. We will need to remain very loyal to local and national brands.'