Rushmere breaks new visitor record as shoppers rush back
More than 136,000 visitors to Rushmere Shopping Centre over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend!
Rushmere Shopping Centre and Retail Park had its busiest bank holiday weekend on record in May as more than 136,000 visitors returned after restrictions on non-essential retail outlets were lifted on Friday, April 30.
One of Northern Ireland’s largest and most successful retail destinations, Rushmere said daily visitor numbers from Friday through to close of business on Monday were similar to those seen in the last few days before Christmas in a normal trading year.
Out-of-town retail centres and parks have performed relatively strongly compared with high streets in the last year and are recovering faster than any other type of shopping destination, according to a recent Springboard analysis.
Rushmere Shopping Centre manager, Martin Walsh, said: “Though we had been anticipating a busy return last weekend, we were delighted to record an unprecedented number of shoppers visiting the centre and retail park right through the four-day shopping period and that despite being busy, everyone was in really great spirits and delighted to be back. It was very encouraging to see.
“Customers and staff were delighted to be safely back out and about and the buzz was fantastic. From our research, shoppers were returning not only to bag themselves a bargain but also to spend some of their lockdown savings on a pre-summer splurge.”
Rushmere said it had also added an outdoor dining terrace for customers ahead of the weekend and that this was providing “extremely popular” for Al Fresco casual dining.
“Bright, modern, spacious and carefully managed, Rushmere is well-placed to ensure that every customer’s journey reflects maximum safety at all times, and we were delighted with the strong adherence to mask-wearing and social distancing throughout the complex,” Martin continued.
Rushmere remains focused on safety, extending opening hours across most stores to spread demand and reduce queues.
Though Friday marked its first ‘normal’ trading day since Christmas Eve 2020, the centre had remained open for retailers of essential items such as food, pharmacy and pet supplies since March, with Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Home Bargains, Boots, Specsavers, Holland & Barrett, Post Office, B&M Bargains, Pets at Home and Pound Stretcher all continuing to operate.
Several other stores, including Matalan, Curry’s PC World and Argos reopened for click-and-collect services on April 12, while hospitality outlets including McDonald’s, Costa Coffee, Five Guys and Nando’s continued to provide a mix of delivery and takeaway services.
Nelson Shanks, Regional Manager for Five Guys restaurant added: “It’s great to have our Five Guys restaurant back at Rushmere back in action following the relaxation of covid restrictions which allows us to serve our customers with our outdoor dining space. This, along with the outdoor seating recently installed by Rushmere, is proving to be a huge success and a great boost for everyone.”
Restrictions on indoor dining are expected to be lifted on May 24 subject to approval.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.