Tills ring out in festive rush

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Ballymena’s traders saw a bumper rush of shoppers flocking to the town last week for last minute Christmas shopping .

The week leading up to Christmas Day saw an increased footfall with many businesses reporting a boost in trade on previous years.

And shoppers and traders alike both benefited from a long week – with Christmas Day falling on Monday – for last minute Christmas shopping purchases.

The town’s retailers also commented on a great festive atmosphere in the town in the week’s running up to Christmas, which added to the shopping experience.

Thomas McKillen, of McKillen’s Footwear, said the efforts by Ballymena BID in putting on entertainment in the town for shoppers, really paid dividends.

“There was such a great atmosphere and many shoppers who came in commented on how great the on-street entertainment was,” Mr McKillen said.

“Quite a few people commented on there being a ‘Belfasty’ feel to the town, which is great to hear as a retailer.”

“All the endeavours by BID - such as advertising, promotions and on-street entertainment are really paying dividends. It’s certainly paving the way for the town for years to come.”

Alison Moore, Ballymena BID Manager, said it was great to see such a busy trading period in the run up to Christmas.

Ballymena BID is made up of a wide range of local businesses, from small independent retailers and services to larger high street brands, with the aim of encouraging growth, development and investment in local businesses.

“Our retailers and traders have worked tirelessly to ensure they provide what shoppers to the town need and we’re delighted to see that people are supporting the excellent mix of high street and independent retailers, coffee shops and eateries in the town,” Alison added. “The only thing that affected our footfall in the run up to Christmas was the weather, which unfortunately was out of our control.

“We also had the premiere of the Ballymena Christmas film, The Martian and the Pigeon, which received a fantastic response and even had people watching as far away as Canada!

“Getting the response that we did raises the profile of Ballymena and all it has to offer. It really is one of the best shopping towns in Northern Ireland and it’s important that we continue to market it as such.”

Meanwhile, Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it had been a very positive trading period.

Tom Wiggins, Business Development Manager for the Chamber, said:“In the months to come Chamber will be working with their partners in Council and Ballymena BID to ensure the positivity of 2017 is built upon in the New Year.”

Tom added: “I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce to wish your readers and all of the businesses in Ballymena and across the Borough a very happy and successful New Year’.