File pic: Santa and Mrs Claus arrive at Market Cross Shopping Centre last year.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Market Cross Shopping Centre, as the lights are twinkling and retailers ready to welcome back shoppers with extended opening hours, free Christmas events and promotions to reward retail staff and shoppers.
Lesley Cleere, Centre Manager says the centre has some exciting additions for December and she was urging shoppers to spend locally this year.
The centre will operate 8am to 9pm opening hours on selected days from December 1, with stores such as Supervalu and Penney’s operating extended hours for Christmas, to ensure a safer shopping experience.
“Each store will be operating their own opening hours, and they vary each day, so plan your shopping trip and phone your favourite stores ahead of time to avoid disappointment,” Ms Cleere says.
Meanwhile, fashion outlet Paco has moved into a larger outlet within the centre, expanding its offerings on shoes and accessories, and introducing menswear.
Market Cross Shopping Centre has capacity for up to 40 outlets with some stores, such as SuperValu, Carphone Warehouse and Holland and Barrett, having remained opened as essential retail.
“A number of our retailers were able to remain opened during Level 5 through offering click or phone and collect services,” says Ms Cleere.
The centre, in the heart of the city, will feature a post box for Santa letters from December 1 and the man in red will personally respond to all letters.
“While we won’t have Santa’s cabin this year, he will be doing a video message for all the children. Mrs Claus is also running a free virtual crafting event on December 6 and Santa will host a free virtual party on December 12.
The centre will also be running a 12 Days of Christmas promotion, giving away 12 luxury hampers and €1,000 in shopping centre vouchers.
Ms Cleere says this year, many families have had to endure enormous changes and stress throughout the pandemic.
“They are in our thoughts and that’s why we are running free events this Christmas and glad to provide a shopping experience for every budget, from the smaller Irish-owned stores to the larger high-street chains.”
It’s been a tough year for retail and hospitality staff too, she says.
“We are like a little family here and I’m thrilled that we will see them all again, and indeed our shoppers.
“To thank them, we are asking shoppers to nominate an employee of the week until December 24, for a chance for the staff members and shoppers to win a €150 voucher each.
“We are asking shoppers to shop local this year and to be patient with stores and their staff, and with each other. This is all new to us and a lot of work has been done to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience for customers,” Ms Cleere says.
There will be a queue management system in place, staff on hand to help any shoppers with additional needs or medical conditions and a weatherproof marquee to protect shoppers from the elements.