A survey conducted by Retail Excellence Ireland showed how different parts of the country are seeing less footfall in centre areas.
Kilkenny, seen as a competitor to Waterford, is also hit by less people on their High St, the MacDonagh Junction opening being a factor as well, no doubt, as the draw of Dublin. Here we blame those areas and also Cork for taking away business.
A campaign to revitalise the city centre is essential for Waterford. Traders will want to see more initiatives and our letter last week from Tom Reid was welcome in some quarters.
Car access is important, some people can be very indifferent about walking today and want to drive directly to the shops. Bad weather can be a factor as people seek covered spaces.
To make the city more vibrant and have more street activity, music, buskers, street entertainers and musical bands playing on Saturdays could all add more buzz around. If Waterford can be a more happening a place then people will want to see what is going on and the result may be more impulse purchases.
The tourist season will give a welcome boost as will the fine weather and the better trading period in the second quarter. It is important that the pessimism is not over done.
Waterford is still doing well compared to previous decades despite the slowdown and we have many more new retailers, but we have lost some older ones which were shops of character like Heine Jewellers and Knoxs, where the owners retired.
We understand that a study will be undertaken by the City Council and Chamber of commerce to look at footfall in the centre city area.
The KRM development or Brewery complex near Stephen St. is currently under appeal and a decision is expected within the next week.
A Government decision on funding for the Viking Quarter is also awaited by the City Council.
Some good news on the retail front is needed as well as some initiatives. We need to look forward and be positive.
Within the next month B and Q will be opening on the Ring Road, which should draw some new shoppers to Waterford, after a visit B and Q many may venture into the city centre, but others may not.
Creating activity is vital in our city centres, whether it be Polish mime theatre, out door events, the Sean Dunne festival it all helps.