Christmas shopping beginning to peak in West Suffolk

Thousands flock to Bury St Edmunds' Christmas Fayre.

Thousands flock to Bury St Edmunds' Christmas Fayre. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Traders in West Suffolk are shaping up for a bumper Christmas period this year – though it might not quite match the roaring success of 2013.

Although figures are not yet in people seem to be reaching into their pockets and spending in their town centres in the run up to Christmas.

Colin Roberts, centre manager at The Arc in Bury St Edmunds and board member of Business Improvement District organisation Ourburystedmunds, said: “It has been manic.

“It was fairly late to start, Christmas trade, and the first weekend in December we were a bit behind last year. But the last week or so has really made up for it.

“Our car park was full at 9.45am on Saturday.

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“Pretty well every retailer is absolutely delighted with the way it has been.

“It’s a little early to tell just how well it has gone, and last year was very good as well so retailers have a lot to do to try and better that.

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“It is probably one of the best in recent years, but not the best.

“Bury is punching above its weight at the moment, with everyone working together so well and that’s what really gives it that bit of extra edge.

Mr Roberts said the atmosphere had remained positive despite the busyness.

“Normally people can get a bit frazzled with it, but the weather has been tremendous and people seem very happy,” he added.

The success in Bury seems to be replicated across the west of the county.

Jane Hatton, from the Sudbury Town Team, said: “We don’t have figures yet but the town seems to have been really busy.

“Sudbury has a lot to offer, and we have had a really good response from both retailers and shoppers.

“The majority of people love Sudbury for its mix of national and local traders, but we need people to use our town centre or we will lose it.

“It is an experience rather than just shopping, an people are also using our restaurants and cafes.”

She put the success down to work earlier in the year promoting the town’s Shop Local campaign, and the three-hour free parking offer, adding “people are not shopping locally just for Christmas, it is through-out the year”.

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