Mullingar retail fairing well against online competition – 14 ‘main street’ units closed but town is holding up
At present on Mullingar’s main street there are 14 units closed out of a possible 144, equating to just under 10%. The figure is not considered to be high in comparison to similar sized towns.
Main street, which includes Dominick Street, Pearse Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Austin Friar Street, has fared well in recent years considering the boom in online retailing, according to
Chamber of Commerce President John Geoghegan. “Despite the ongoing proliferation of online retail, Mullingar town centre has held up quite well in such an incredibly competitive environment,” he said. US investment bank JP Morgan Mullingar retail fairing well against online competition Chase calculated in 2019 that the value of Irish online retail was worth €5bn annually. Mr Geoghegan estimates that this figure has more than likely doubled due to Covid, highlighting the struggle facing retailers. “If you consider that 20 years ago online sales were practically zero, this means there is €10bn of business not being done on our streets and in our retail parks that once was.
“It’s my view that against this backdrop, Mullingar is doing extremely well from a retail perspective with a proliferation of excellent retailers on our street from practically all sectors of the marketplace.” A study conducted by EY Ireland this year found that there were 29,317 vacant commercial units throughout Ireland. The survey also found that neighbouring towns in the Midlands have a much higher vacancy rate than Mullingar (10%) such as Edenderry, Co. Offaly at 27.7% and Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford at 26.3%. This shows that locals have been quite supportive of their highstreet retailers and Mr Geoghegan appeals for this trend to continue.
“In terms of what we can do for retail in the town centre, the answer is simple: please shop in our town centres and support the retailers we have as best as you can or, sadly, they just will not be there in the future,” he said. He continued that the Chamber of Commerce has measures in place to try and counteract the moving trend towards online retail such as Winterfest and the Mullingar Voucher scheme. “We run the voucher scheme all year round which is growing at 50% per annum. We sold €300,000 worth of vouchers in 2021 that are worth over €1m to the local retail
economy as they are only redeemable in retail outlets in the district.” The Mullingar.ie website as well as the #LoveMullingar campaign have been quite successful in attracting footfall to the town said the Chamber President.