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Top Tips for Shopping in Newry

Update: Check out the 2016 listing of Special Offers from the various Northern Ireland grocery chains.

In our second week of Top Tips for Irish Consumer, based on the searches people are doing in Google these days and arriving at ValueIreland.com, I thought I’d put together a series of Top Tips for anyone thinking of going to Newry to do their Christmas shopping.

What follows below are Frequently Asked Questions that people are asking Google about shopping in Newry.

We’re not advocating that you definitely shop in Newry, or that you follow your “patriotic duty” – that’s your own choice. If you think you’re going to get better value there than you will in your local supermarkets or stores, then by all means look after your pennies.

For further information, check out Boards.ie and AskAboutMoney.com.

Where should I do my shopping when I get to Newry?
The two primary locations of interest to Irish shoppers are the Buttercrane and The Quays shopping centres. They’re in the centre of the town, across the road from each other. For grocery shopping Newry has a Dunnes Stores and a Sainsburys. There is also a Marks & Spencers, but it’s grocery section is quite small.

Where else could I go instead of Newry?
If you’re heading north, you might want to find a Tesco Extra for the larger selection to get everything in one place. These are available in Banbridge and Enniskillen, with other Tesco stores in Ballymena, Belfast, Cookstown, Portadown, Lurgan, Craigavon and other locations.
If ASDA is more what you’re looking for, they’re in Enniskillen as well as Derry, Kilkeel, Strabane, Ballyclare, Belfast, Downpatrick and Cookstown.
If you can’t get into Sainsburys in Newry, you could check them out in Belfast, Ballymena, Coleraine, Craigavon and Derry.
Obviously there are many other brands and stores – this is a useful link to what’s available.

How far away is Newry?
I suppose it depends on where you’re coming from. According to the AA RoutePlanner, Newry is 116km and 1hr and 20mins from the M4/M50 junction. If you know how to get there, you’ve got just over 70 miles to go. Remember though, you’re not going to be the only person heading for Newry, so allow for a lot longer for getting stuck in traffic.

Do I need my passport to go to Newry?
Are you an EU national? Then no, you don’t need your passport to cross the border into Newry. If you’re from outside the EU, then technically yes, you’ll need your passport. If you have no other photographic identification it might be useful, but for travel purposes, it’s not necessary.

When should I go shopping in Newry?
You should get there as early as you can in the morning. Not only will you not get parking if you only get there around lunchtime, but chances are there’ll be nothing left on the shelves after the early birds get all the groceries.

Can I use my credit card in Newry?
Eh, yes! Credit cards can be used anywhere. You may not be able to use your Laser card though. Check if it has the Maestro logo on the back – that should increase your chances of it being accepted.

What currency can I use in Newry?
The currency in Newry is the British pound, but most stores will accept the Euro also. Be careful however what rate you’re offered. Anecdotal evidence suggest that the rate can vary from 85p to 95p for your €1.

What do groceries cost in Newry?
The best indication you can get before travelling north regarding what you might expect to pay is to check out the websites of the stores you’re planning to visit, so Tesco or Sainsbury or Asda will give you some idea.

Will I save money going to Newry?
That depends on what you’re buying I suppose. By all accounts in the media at the moment, you’ll save money buying most items up there at the moment. However, like everything else, it’s buyer beware. Make sure you know how much the items that you’re buying up there cost down south first – don’t just assume you’ll save money.

How much can I save by going to Newry?
This depends, obviously, on what you’re buying. Different reports suggest that you could save between 25% and 40% on your average weekly shop. However, given you’re travelling all that way, you’re likely to spend more. Just make sure you don’t get carried away and overbuy on groceries that might go off after bringing them home and not using them immediately.

Is there a Lidl or Aldi in Newry?
If you’re thinking of trying to save on the double, there are Lidl outlets in Northern Ireland, including one in Newry. Check the Store Locator on the Lidl site for locations. I can’t find information to say that there are Aldi outlets in Northern Ireland.

What is the customs allowance after shopping in Newry?
As Newry is technically part of another EU country, standard rules apply with regards to items that you’re bringing back into Ireland from the North. As long as the items brought in (groceries for example) are for your personal use, you’re pretty much okay to bring in whatever you want. According to the Revenue website, however, in the case of alcohol and tobacco products:

  • they must be for your personal use
  • you must retain your receipts as proof that you have paid duty and taxes
  • you must personally accompany the goods on arrival.

They also define what constitutes personal use for these items:

  • 800 – Cigarettes
  • 10 litres – Spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.)
  • 90 litres – Wine (of which only 60 litres can be sparkling)
  • 110 litres – Beer

Should I buy petrol in Newry?
That depends. Is it cheaper than you can get down south? It’s generally accepted that the average price of a litre of petrol down south is about 100c at the moment. According to the AA (UK) site, the average price in Northern Ireland is about 95c – which is about 113c. So, fill up before you leave, and don’t fill up again until you get home again.

Can I return items to southern versions of northern shops?
I guess what people are trying to find out here is whether something bought in a Marks & Spencers in Newry can be returned or exchanged in a Marks & Spencers in Dublin for example. It is probably safer to assume that you won’t be able to do this. For a start, it’s possible that different ranges of items are on sale in Newry vs Dublin. You may be able to do it however, so at least ask the question when you’re buying something. Obviously, the best thing to do is to make sure you’re happy with the purchase before you buy it. If you need to return something becaues it’s actually broken, then you’re more likely going to have to go back to where you purchased the item as southern shops are unlikely to want the hassle.

Do I need shots before going shopping in Newry?
Okay, so I made this one up, but this is the only one I’ve made up. All the other questions above are actual questions asked in Google.

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