Youghal for me.
I own my own Business and have various outlets throughout Ireland. Last Wednesday I received figures for the shops at 6pm for the previous weeks trade.Youghal has consistantly turned over a good trade operataing at about 15-20% profit over the years but I found last week it was down a further 35% on the week before and 60% on last year.
I have a Business Development Manager in place who would look after some of my shops in that area, but I was so annoyed I phoned the manager up at 8pm and asked what was going on. Bluntly he said "Boss, you have no idea how bad it is down here - All the foreign workers are away and 2 Hotels in the town have closed and every second shop on the main street is closed". I spoke candidly to him but when I got off the phone I was convinced I was been done. I told the Wife I would be leaving at 6am for Youghal and I would not be there for the Kids.
Its a good 5 hour drive down to youghal, know the road well. Stopped outside Naas for some Breakfast. Got to Youghal just after 11 and pulled up in the Tesco Park which was empty. Usually Its impossible to park in Youghal but it was I'd say 1/5 full.
Went then to have a walk about and Came accross the hotel at the top of the Town. Big Under Administration notice in the window. As I walked down the town fair enough - Every second shop was closed with To Let signs. Last year these would have been open. Stopped off in the Hotel on the Main street for a Sandwish and to speak to the locals. No one about. Asked for a Sandwich & some Tea and they said they didn't do food anymore. Its a Hotel FFS. I was the only one in the place and managed to talk to the owner who told me he was in trouble himself.
I was looking to hit my own shop at about 2pm as that is when it would be busy. I had a look at 2 of my other competitors and in the first it had 2 customers in it and then 3 customers in the second competitor. When I got to my own it had 2 in it. On a day where I would have expected 20 min.
On the way back I went to Middleton. Same again. Bloody hell - I have never seen such a downturn. I am scared to even use the word depression as it does not even do it justice.