'Deserters' leaving Carlisle to shop in Glasgow are harming city
Published at 11:29, Wednesday, 11 December 2013
‘Deserters’ being enticed over the border to do their Christmas shopping are draining Carlisle’s energy, traders warn.
City businesses have attacked discounted train fares for shoppers from Carlisle to Glasgow over the festive period.
Virgin Trains is running a major marketing campaign at Carlisle Railway Station with staff wearing billboards promoting the £16 off-peak return fares.
The company said it hopes to entice more people to choose Glasgow as their present-finding destination – or at least somewhere for a festive day out.
Steve Matthews, chairman of the Carlisle City Centre Business Group and owner of Bookcase in Castle Street, believes it will hit local trade by taking shoppers away.
He said: “We already have people going to the Metro Centre in Gateshead and by deserting local facilities they are draining the energy away from them.
“I think Virgin should be marketing the trains from Glasgow to Carlisle just as strongly.”
Mr Matthews also said people in Carlisle may be travelling to places like Glasgow to do their shopping for the variety it offers.
David Jackson, commercial director of The Lanes shopping centre, agreed that for many people a day out shopping is about more than just buying Christmas presents.
He said: “I think a lot of people go for the change of scenery – it’s a whole experience as you might go for a meal or to the cinema as well.”
He also said he wasn’t too concerned about Virgin’s cut price train fares as they are being advertised at the railway station where people are planning on heading out of Carlisle anyway.
Mr Jackson added: “The closer it gets to Christmas the more people will start shopping locally. We benefit from people coming here as well and we advertise to a large catchment of 400,000 people trying to bring them to Carlisle.”
Stuart Davison, Virgin Train’s station manager for Carlisle and Penrith, said he understands the concerns among local traders.
But it would “be wrong” of the firm not to fulfil its partnership with Glasgow City Council encouraging shoppers there during Christmas, he added.
Mr Davison also said that Virgin put on nearly 30 charter trains in August bringing people into Carlisle.
“We do sell Carlisle as a destination,” he added. “And looking forward to next year, particularly the summer, we have the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and Carlisle will be an ideal place for people to stay so we will be interested in looking more into that.”
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Put it all it to prospective, trying living and shopping in Whitehaven. If it's a Â£1 shop or charity shop you want then fine for anything else you have to travel.
Its also Â£16 for a day return from Glasgow to Carlisle and back. Whats all the fuss about?
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