March 11 2014 Latest news:
Mariam Ghaemi and Richard Cornwell
Monday, December 30, 2013
Town centres across Suffolk have been enjoying a busy time since Christmas - with people making the most of their holidays to shop and pick up bargains in the sales.
Many traders have been reporting good business with the fine weather over the weekend again bringing out the crowds. And independent shopkeepers are encouraging people to continue spending their money with them.
In Bury St Edmunds the cookshop Steamer Trading in St John’s Street reported its best post-Christmas trade for years.
Shop assistant Becky Pitcher said: “We have had really good days. We have done better in the last couple of days than even Christmas Eve.”
She said they had been “amazed” at how much people were spending, with purchases including high-end items such as kitchen aids and coffee machines - even though the coffee machines were not in the sale.
Cate Palliser, who owns Scarlet Shoes in the Traverse, Bury, also reported doing well, adding they were up on last Christmas - both pre and post-Christmas trade.
“We work really hard and are always trying new lines and things. You cannot rest on your laurels.”
She said competing with chains and the internet was not easy, but with independents it was all about the service, adding people wanted to try shoes on.
Alan Rayner, owner of retro-style men’s clothing shop Twist ‘n’ Shout in St Stephen’s Lane, Ipswich, said: “It’s been good – a very happy Christmas – and I cannot complain at all.
“Independent shops are key to bringing people into town centres and we think it’s brilliant that people support us.”
In Woodbridge, Chris Harrold, chairman of Choose Woodbridge, said the run-up to Christmas had been very good for traders – with some enjoying a record-breaking season – but it had been quieter since Christmas Day.
He said: “It was incredibly busy on the Monday before Christmas, though Christmas Eve was not as busy as last year, and fairly quiet on the two days after Boxing Day.
“I have been out around the town today and there are quite a few people about, especially having coffee and lunch, and while they are perhaps not in the shops they are using Woodbridge’s facilities, which is still very good for the town.”