2018 was an exciting year for Foyleside Shopping Centre, and for Derry/ Lononderry generally, as more exciting retail outlets opened their doors and many important jobs were created in the City.
Perhaps one of the best known (and best loved) family companies in the world, Disney, opened its doors in April of last year, making it the first Disney store outside of Belfast in the whole of Northern Ireland. Chic menswear label Jack Wills quickly followed suit, not to mention well-known health and supplement retailer Holland & Barrett.
It was also a good year for local home-grown successes like Make Up Pro Store, whose shop opened in July 2018, and who now have locations in Belfast and Newry. Hip new donut shop, Taboo, also opened its doors in July following the runaway success of its three locations in Belfast. Good news for those of us with a sweet tooth!
These new additions have created a massive 60 – 70 jobs between them, and it comes as visitor numbers to the Centre have increased to a record-breaking 2.26 million. This is due in part to an increase in southern shoppers venturing across the border. The current exchange rate in sterling is 90 pence to the euro, and as a result of the strong European currency, Foyleside has enjoyed an increase in southern traffic by over 20% since 2016.
Foyleside has improved access for customers, with the opening of a new sensory room and the introduction of silent shopping Wednesdays for patrons and their children with learning difficulties. 2018 also saw the opening of adult changing facilities and general improvements to the Centre as a whole.
“Our new sensory room and the introduction of silent shopping Wednesdays have proven a real success and we’re delighted by the response and support given to these additions,” Foyleside centre manager Fergal Rafferty said.
“In November last year we were honoured to have been recognised by Autism NI, who presented Foyleside with an Autism Impact Award in acknowledgement of what we’ve achieved with improvements to the Centre.”
Foyleside Shopping Centre is now fully occupied, meaning that there are no more retails spaces left to be filled. This is an amazing achievement, given what a difficult period it has been for retailers across Northern Ireland more generally.
No wonder that Foyleside is the number 2 for the whole of Northern Ireland according to ‘Going Shopping 2019’ guide in The Irish News!