Drogheda has the least 'healthy' shopping centre in the country

That’s according to a new study by trade body Retail Excellence Ireland.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

DROGHEDA HAS THE least ‘healthy’ shopping centre in the country – and Brexit’s at least partially to blame.

That’s according to new research by trade body Retail Excellence Ireland, which gave the Laurence Town Centre the lowest score in its biennial shopping centre review.

The study was based on feedback from tenants on a variety of topics, from rent prices to store profitability.

More than 220 shopping centre tenants that operate a combined total of 650 stores participated in the survey.

Of the 38 shopping centres included in the review, 12 were deemed to be ‘unhealthy’.

retail excellence shopping centre

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Retail Excellence’s head of public affairs and communications, Lorraine Higgins, suggested that Laurence shopping centre was at the bottom of the league because it is “probably experiencing a degree of performance negativity as a consequence of Brexit and sterling devaluation”.

A weaker pound has been one of the chief Brexit risks for Ireland, making Irish goods relatively expensive compared to those from the UK market.

The Laurence centre is located just 45 minutes away from the Northern Ireland border, where consumers can avail of cheaper prices for many items.

Fora contacted the Laurence for comment, but no one was available to speak at the time of publishing.

‘Affluent demographic’

At the other end of the table, two shopping centres were said to be ‘in good health’: Dundrum Town Centre and Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.

Higgins said this was an improvement on the previous review in 2015, in which no shopping centre in the country fell into that top-tier category.

She suggested that Dundrum Town Centre was in the number-one spot “as a consequence of many leases being close to the market rent and thus at reasonably sustainable levels”.

rei shopping centre

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The mall also benefited from a good retail mix and “an affluent local demographic”.

Higgins noted that Liffey Valley reported an increase in footfall as a result of new retail offerings such as Penneys.

Overall, conditions for retailers operating in shopping centres have improved, Higgins said.

“There is no doubt with a host of issues facing the industry from Brexit to rents and the migration to online shopping that retailers need to work harder to engage consumers and drive footfall into their shops,” she said.

Retail Excellence also published a separate survey on retail parks. Mahon Point in Cork was the highest-ranking park in the country. Castlebar Retail Park was the lowest.

A number of parks in County Louth scored badly, which “indicates that Brexit and consequential sterling devaluation is having a negative impact on their performance”, according to Lorraine Higgins.

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