Cash crisis playing into Outlet’s hands

THE Irish economic crisis has played into the hands of the Outlet with more Southern trade coming to the retail village looking for bargains.

That’s according to the new boss at the Bridgewater Park centre.

Chris Nelmes was appointed in November of last year and since then he has been taking the first steps into making his vision for the centre a reality.

With the Euro currently sky-high in comparison to the Pound the new Operations Manager said that more people from the Republic of Ireland have taken advantage of the cheap deals.

“With the price of the Euro at the minute we have found that a lot of people have come up because they are skint and after a bargain,” he said.

“There is talk of the Euro falling again and should that happen we could do another £1 for €1 deal. The last campaign we did was very successful.”

Mr Nelmes, who spent 25 years working for Debenhams before taking up the post, said that, while the Outlet wasn’t totally reliant on Southern trade it certainly welcomed it - and that this was good for the whole of Banbridge.

“We don’t forget the local trade, though,” he added. “But it’s well known that we get a lot of trade from the South.

“They come up here and have a coffee, then do a bit of shopping before going into the town and doing some more there.

“In fact a lot of the shoppers park in the town, mistakingly thinking that it is just a short walk from the town to the Outlet. That’s why we are still working towards getting better signage as many people see Bridgewater Park and don’t realise that that’s where we are.”

The Yorkshire-man, who has spent 10 years living in the district, wants to see the Outlet build better links with businesses in the town as well as working with the Council on various projects.

“I want to see us become involved with the local Chamber of Commerce and with the Council. I’ve already had discussions with the Chief Executive of the Council about getting involved in events like BuskFest,” he said.

“I love Banbridge. I’ve lived in the area now for so long that it has become home; I play rugby for the local club and my sons attend school here and also play their sport here too, so I really do feel like part of the community here.

“I’m a member of the DPP so I know a lot of the local community groups and councillors as well so I am keen to work with anyone who thinks we can assist them.”