Campaign launched in Sudbury to get people to shop local as retail chains quit town

Town manager Jane Hatton who says campaign will highlight positives of Sudbury

Town manager Jane Hatton who says campaign will highlight positives of Sudbury - Credit: Archant

A “shop local” campaign is to be launched in Sudbury in a bid to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the town’s free parking and independent stores.

The move comes as national menswear retailer Burton and betting shop William Hill confirmed they would be closing their Sudbury outlets in the near future.

Some people have expressed concerns that the town will lose its identity if more national chains abandon it.

But town manager Jane Hatton believes Sudbury still has plenty to offer and the campaign will highlight the positives.

Mrs Hatton said: “We are looking at what we can do because suddenly it feels like we have lost a few of the (retail) chains, but we need to keep promoting what Sudbury does have to offer.

“It isn’t fair to compare it with places like Bury because they have several people working full-time on promoting the town centre which we simply cannot afford to do.

“It is a blow to lose Burtons but Sudbury still has a good mix of independent shops and some national companies. There is no point moaning about it – we have to use what we have to the best advantage.”

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Chris Storey, chairman of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, described the loss of Burtons as “unfortunate”.

He said: “Sudbury does appear to be losing a proportion of its clothing outlets but they have seen a lot of competition from supermarkets selling clothes.

“Also, people’s shopping habits have changed and we have to adapt to survive and make the best of the opportunities we have. It may not be what everyone wants to see but it is an essential response to these changing needs.

“We have the historic core and Gainsborough’s House which provide people with an opportunity to come to Sudbury as a destination, and shops will come to back that up if rents and rates are right.

“We still have relatively low vacancy rates in Sudbury and that would be a very different story if we hadn’t kept the three hours free parking.”

The shop local campaign will encourage people to make use of Sudbury’s independent shops and to spend their money in the town over the Christmas period.