Businesses in Bury hopeful of a 'normal year' in 2022
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brownn
A Bury St Edmunds business chief says shops, pubs and restaurants in the town are "cautiously optimistic" and hoping for "a normal year" of trading in 2022.
Mark Cordell, chief executive for Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID), said despite the impact of coronavirus restrictions and the cancellation of the town's Christmas fayre in November, footfall has been encouraging.
Mr Cordell said businesses in the popular market town are "not doom and gloom" and the quiet trading month of January has been as was expected by traders.
"Businesses are trying to be positive," he said.
"They've had to deal not only with all the Covid restrictions, but also issues around isolation and staffing. I think they're hopeful that maybe we can put all that behind us and that 2022 is a normal year.
"Christmas was ok, obviously it could have been better, the hospitality businesses were hit.
"It's been like a normal January. There's low expectations in January for a variety of reasons but the businesses I spoke to were saying: 'all things considered, it's been ok'.
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"Post Christmas, the weather has been ok, and people are still coming into town. The Abbey Gardens remains a great attraction so that part of town tends to have more footfall consistently.
"Apart from November, because of course we didn't have a Christmas fayre, the footfall in that part of town from May to end the of year was marginally better than 2019.
"No-one's saying it's fabulous but no-one is doom and gloom either."
Mr Cordell said the cancellation of last year's Christmas fayre, which normally brings around 120,000 people to Bury, was a blow for businesses.
"It's always difficult to calculate just how much money would have been spent but for some of our businesses, they take more in that weekend than they do in January," he said.
"It's a big loss but while the council's decision has been they're not going to hold it, businesses have had to deal with that decision.
"Obviously, they would prefer it to take place and we're hopeful that might be the case this year but the council's still got to make a decision on that.
"I think we're cautiously optimistic. Bury's done ok and long may that continue to be the case."