Cricket bats and running shoes in high demand post lockdown

Ed Garrard

Ed Garrard - Credit: Archant

Cricket bats, tennis rackets and running trainers have been in demand in the weeks since the third coronavirus lockdown was lifted, sports retailers in Suffolk say.

Organised team sport has been allowed outdoors since March 29 while gyms and non-essential retailers were able to reopen on April 12, and since then shoppers have been gearing up to play sport again.

William Coe, boss of Coes department store in Ipswich, said: "Sport has actually been one of our strongest areas since the first lockdown.

Ipswich Central chairman Willian Coe

William Coe said summer sports goods had been performing well since the store had reopened. - Credit: Archant

"We've had a very good start in the first three weeks since we've been open and before that online sport was doing well.

"Obviously it depends on the sport itself. Last summer we sold tons of trainers because so many people were running.

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"Since we've been back the big three for us have been cricket, tennis and running. Not so much rugby or football, though I know some of the clubs are still playing a little bit.

"I'm expecting a strong autumn winter in terms of rugby and hockey etc but not quite yet."

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Ed Garrard, of West Row-based Garrard Cricket Bat Company, said people were buying bats and kit ahead of the coming season.

Ed Garrad of Garrad & Flack

Ed Garrard of Garrard Cricket Bat Company - Credit: MATT COOPER PHOTOGRAPHY UK

"People are quite keen to get new bats," he said. "I wonder if last year people didn't spend money and because they haven't been going to the pub they have got money to spend on luxuries like cricket bats.

"I often say if we're as busy as this at the end of June I'll be happy, but when we get there I'll hope it goes on until August.

"The pandemic has revolutionised our business really. Because we had to do everything online we changed the way we do things and adjusted the price point.

Ed Garrad of Garrad & Flack

Ed Garrard of Garrard Cricket Bat Company - Credit: MATT COOPER PHOTOGRAPHY UK

"Because we couldn't have anyone visit the workshop we sold a lot more stock items at a slightly lower price point. Because they're not custom-made we don't feel like we can charge the full £350-400.

"That's carried on and we've actually found a little niche at the slightly lower price point."

Mr Garrard said he had not seen interest in the sport following England winning the Cricket World Cup in the summer of 2019 materialise into new players or customers.

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