Tough Christmas for Laois shops

SHOPPERS spent less in Portlaoise this year compared to other years, according to the Laois Chamber of Commerce.

SHOPPERS spent less in Portlaoise this year compared to other years, according to the Laois Chamber of Commerce.

The president of Laois Chamber, Mr Liam McEvoy said that despite an increased footfall in the town in the lead up to Christmas, people were spending less.

"You couldn't move around the town on Thursday, but people are shopping for value now," he said. Mr McEvoy did not agree that more people shopped locally this year, when it was too difficult to travel to Dublin or other larger shopping centres.

"People weren't able to shop during December, they were waiting for the weather to improve. There was a small increase in the last three to four days before Christmas, but we would see that every year.

"It's hard to quantify whether more people shopped local because they couldn't get to other towns.

"But a lot of people also shopped on-line this year when they couldn't get out," he said.

The president said the M7 was in very poor condition on Christmas week, something that probably stopped a lot of people from heading to Naas and Newbridge.

Mr McEvoy also warned that there could be tougher times ahead for local business if the cold snap returns. January is always tough at the best of time, and businesses will find it difficult to keep their head above water in the new year," Liam McEvoy warned.

"People are shopping around for value for money now, but if the frost returns it will have a detremental effect on retail sales in January."