With more people turning to walking and running to keep active during the Covid-19 pandemic, shops selling outdoor wear in Omagh have seen a boost in sales.
During the lockdown earlier this year, families across the North took advantage of the good weather to enjoy their natural surroundings like never before. And with many workers around the country on furlough, running saw an increase in popularity as it was one of the few means of exercise allowed under the tight restrictions in place at the beginning of the lockdown. One of the shops to benefit in Omagh has been Regatta Outdoor Wear, which is owned by SD Kells.
Anita McGoldrick, store manager at SD Kells, said that sales of items like walking shoes, waterproof coats and trousers, gloves, hats and scarfs had been a “real success” in recent Months. She said, “Times have changed for all of us. People’s ways of life have changed.” With the retail sector closing down again from tomorrow (Friday), SD Kells has been open late all this week to facilitate customers looking to get their Christmas shopping done before the two-week circuit breaker.
“We felt the change in shopping patterns after the announcement was made last Thursday. We’ve been really busy all this week. It’s great to see shoppers supporting the local traders,” Anita added.
Meanwhile, Catherine Taggart, owner of Lakeland Leisure in Omagh, also said that sales of their Asics running shoes had been going well during this unprecedented year. “The good weather had a lot of people out and about,” she said. But Catherine said that other parts of her business had suffered as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. As well as selling a variety of sports gear, the shop, located on Kevlin Avenue, also supplies trophies, medals and engraving services.
With end-of-year functions cancelled by schools and sporting organisations, Catherine said that side of the business was “completely gone” for the time being. She is also afraid that the two-week closure will drive more people towards buying online for this Christmas. Urging local shoppers to support their own, particularly during this festive season, Catherine said, “Money spent in local businesses will circulate around the local economy. Money that goes to China or the USA will not be shared here.
“If the businesses aren’t supported, they not going to be there, so please support your own.”