OVER £10.5M was spent in 261,868 transactions made in the Newry, Mourne and Down District during the Spend Local Card Scheme.
Figures released also show that over £2.8M was spent by 68,574 living in the BT34 (Includes Newry and Warrenpoint) postcode area compared with £4.8M by the 111,162 in BT 35 (South Armagh Section.).
Of the 1,399,051 NI residents issued with a Spend Local card 1,393,043 (99.6%) Spend Local cards were activated.
The total spend on Spend Local cards was £136.5 million with the average amount spent on activated cards £97.94
Mr Peter Murray, manager of the Buttercrane Centre in Newry, said the scheme marked a return to shopping local.
“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.
Mr Cathal Austin, Manager of The Quays Shopping Centre, said the Spend Local Scheme was “ only a start in so far as it got people back out into physical retail following the Covid lockdown.
“The spend local voucher scheme was laudable, but it was only a start insofar as it got people back out into physical retail following the Covid-19 lockdown.
“People are still stretched in the local consumer market. Prices are going up and consumer confidence is not great. Whilst the voucher was laudable and I applaud it as it was a good start, there is much more that needs to be done to make sure that the high street is secured into the future. This will require work from the Executive and will require some thought on the behalf of ourselves as well.
Full story on page 33