Ipswich retailers see sales rebound in May - but remain angry over market move
- Credit: Archant
The sunshine brought more shoppers out onto the streets last month, helping to make up for trade lost due to snow and wet weather in April.
According to the findings in the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG retail sales monitor, total UK sales increased by 4.1% year-on-year in May, compared with a 0.2% annual increase in May 2017.
This was the highest increase since January 2014, excluding Easter distortions. In April, total retail sales had shrunk sharply by 3.1% year-on-year, with the cold weather seen as partly to blame for households tightening their belts.
Ipswich market traders said business has been booming lately, thanks to the balmy weather.
Jaime Robaldo-Sibona, who operates The Latin Table stall on Queen Street, said the sunshine has had a “massive impact” on business lately. “During the week we get the lunchtime crowd from the offices who buy from us regardless of the weather,” said the 41 year-old. “But at weekends, trade is very much dependent on the weather. During the snow, the only stall trading was the biryani chap, who always trades regardless of the weather. The snow in the spring created a big dent in our profits, but at least it gave us time to catch up on our admin from home.”
Adrian Hearne, who sells his Capel St Mary farm’s produce on the Orwell Local Foods stall, said May trade was 20% up on April. But he blamed Ipswich Market’s temporary relocation from the Cornhill to Giles Place and Queens Street due to ongoing construction work at the Cornhill for poor trading figures throughout the spring.
“Business is better now thanks to the weather, but unfortunately, some shoppers who are walking along the main street can’t see the market stalls and they don’t know that we are here. That’s still a huge issue for us.”
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Footfall was also up at the Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich this May according to its manager Allan Hassell. “Our fashion retailers have performed the best, with the warmer weather during most of May really driving sales. Food and beverage have also put in a good performance, with [bar] Revolution having very strong al-fresco sales,” he said.
“The weaker film releases and generally warmer weather in May slowed down our leisure offering, but Empire and Superbowl UK still both performed very well within their sectors.”