Pumping life into the High Street

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STORMONT is rolling out plans to inject money into town centres across Northern Ireland in an attempt to prevent them from becoming ghost towns, but the web can drive sales in-store too, according to an internet-based firm.

Currently more than 11 per cent of town centre shops are empty across the UK and Natasha-Rachel Smith, Consumer Affairs Expert from TopCashBack (www.topcashback.co.uk), believes the government needs to urgently invest in towns to prevent the heart of our communities disappearing for ever.

She said: “It is vital that the UK’s high-streets are productive as a competitive environment in today’s retail sector. Although online will almost always offer the most attractive deals and savings, consumers in Northern Ireland will absolutely always need to access goods on their doorstep. This is particularly true for essential products and services, and on time-urgent occasions where waiting for a delivery or service appointment is obsolete for shoppers’ needs.”

Natasha added: “Consumers will always be enticed by online bargains and money-saving tactics such as cashback, but households in Northern Ireland will continue to rely on the high street to be the heart and soul of their communities. If Government investment continues it will inspire retailers to innovate and draw people into town centres. Brick-and-mortar retailers shouldn’t regard online shopping as a foe, but instead work hand-in-hand with money-saving websites to drive footfall into their premises by the use of special promotions and printable discount vouchers.”