Peter Murray, manager of the Buttercrane shopping centre, also praised the £100.00 Spend Local Voucher Scheme, saying that thanks to the implementation of the scheme there has been a “renaissance of the high street” in Newry.
“Overall the scheme was of great benefit to the high street in November and early December, boosting the spend in retail and hospitality particularly , something that was very badly needed after the most challenging of eighteen months.
“The voucher helped create a buzz and a bit of confidence on high streets and in town and city centres which was most welcome. Customers benefitted from retail led discounts and offers linked to the scheme by individual stores so customers, in these circumstances, availed of the offer and thus tended to add something over and above the £100 given they were getting excellent value for money.
“Undoubtedly, the scheme was expensive to fund by the NI Executive, albeit as a Covid relief scheme, and it would be great to see something similar repeated. However the current fiscal challenges to government, allied to the cost of living crisis and challenges in the health sector in particular , may mean that the HSV scheme of 2021 was a one off and is not repeated on the same scale for quite some time.
“To me the legacy of the HSC scheme was to reacquaint customers with their local town or city, letting them see the excellent range of stores and facilities on offer.
There is I believe something of a return to shopping local , supporting local jobs and enjoying the interpersonal exchanges not offered by on line shopping. With on line sales equating to some 30% of discretionary expenditure, and on line stores gradually introducing charges for returns, I believe there HSV scheme has played its part in the renaissance of the high street, something bricks and mortar stores must build upon today and in the years ahead. “