Rushmere bucks the trend of falling Christmas trade.

Inside Rushmere Shopping Centre.
Inside Rushmere Shopping Centre.

Rushmere have announced another record-breaking festive haul as shoppers flocked to the centre in their thousands over Christmas.

The shopping centre is celebrating another consecutive year of growth after reporting a fresh surge in shopper numbers and increased sales over the Christmas period.

Although latest figures published by Experian indicate that retail footfall levels fell by 12.5 per cent in Northern Ireland for the week ending Saturday, December 28 against the same period a year ago, shopper numbers visiting Rushmere Shopping Centre rose yet again.

Footfall rose by four per cent for the same week, with a staggering 38,300 shoppers coming through the doors on Monday, December 23 alone - the second busiest day ever recorded at the Craigavon-based retail complex.

Despite the generally challenging economic conditions, Rushmere registered strong growth in footfall for 2013 as a whole - up by more than two per cent on a year ago and the second consecutive annual increase registered.

Shopper spend also rose in 2013.

According to centre manager Martin Walsh, sales at department store Debenhams spiked with a last minute rush in the three days before Christmas, with fragrance and cosmetics proving to be the top sellers; while figures registered for Clintons rose 50 per cent over the month, making it the top performing store in the region.

Similar success was also reported by retailers Topman and Topshop which delivered a sales increase of 38 per cent and 19 per cent respectively on the year, while Dunnes delivered an increase of 50 per cent over Christmas week.

The Discount NI store in Rushmere confirmed its status as the best-performing store in the entire UK (out of 300 stores) by registering an increase in sales of 33 per cent.

Martin Walsh, Rushmere Shopping Centre manager, said, “Despite the disappointing retail backdrop elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, Rushmere Shopping Centre has performed exceptionally well throughout the year and we’re delighted to have welcomed an increased number of shoppers year on year for the second consecutive year, and particularly in the busy days leading up to Christmas 2013.

“Importantly, many of our retailers are also reporting robust sales in the run up to and post Christmas, while sales of the Rushmere gift card for December were up 58 per cent on the same month last year, equating to £177,000, which will translate into important sales for our retailers in the coming weeks and months.”