Retailers report strong sales figures

RETAILERS in the region have reported strong sales since Boxing Day.

RETAILERS in the region have reported strong sales since Boxing Day.

Despite the concerns over the economy, it seems large numbers of shoppers have been keen to take advantage of sales.

Colin Roberts, centre manager at Ipswich's Buttermarket shopping centre, said Boxing Day was “busier than expected” with traders having a “very good day indeed”. He said Saturday was also a busy day.

“It certainly has been nowhere near as bad as feared,” he said. “It is a little early to say that it has been good. I think people have bought probably more things but at a lower value.”

Businesses in west Suffolk also reported strong sales heading towards the New Year.

Paul Marchant, managing director of Marchants Cookware Emporium in Bury, said: “It is reasonable, there are quite a few people about and it has been positive.

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“We have never done sales because we don't think they are fair.”

Gina Malyon manager of the Bury branch of designer clothing retailer Javelin, said: “It has been absolutely manic here. We have a sale and people are spending - it has been really good.”

John McMillan, president of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said: “Business has been remarkably good - everyone is saying they are doing fine and there turnover is the same as last year. I think it is because we offer a pleasant shopping environment.”

At Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex, more than 3,000 people were queuing outside Next for the start of its sale at 5am on Saturday.

Steve Chandler, general manager, said the centre had been “extremely busy” as shoppers competed for bargains.

“We have been open since Boxing Day and have been very busy for those three days,” he said.

“The car parks have been full and the shopping malls have been placed with lots of people carrying lots of bags.

“We don't have hard numbers but it feels as busy as last year.”

He added that on the first day of the Next sale there had been 3,500 people queuing outside for the 5am opening and the centre was still busy at 9pm.

Mark Turner, deputy store manager at Williams and Griffin in Colchester, said the store had been busy despite the recent challenging conditions.

“There have been challenging trading conditions which we have seen throughout December and this year customers did seem to leave shopping until the actual Christmas week,” he said.

“The first day of the sale was yesterday as we did not open on Boxing Day and it was extremely busy and it showed an increase compared to the same day last year.

“It was a very buoyant first day of the sale which we were delighted with.”

It was a similar picture nationally, with shoppers queuing to be the first into many High Street shops.

Richard Dodd, British Retail Consortium spokesman, said: “There is no question that large numbers of shoppers turned out over the last two days. Boxing Day was certainly the biggest retail Boxing Day

that we have seen as more stores offered more discounts and bigger sales than they have in previous years.”

Mr Dodd said the good sales turnout and “a last-minute surge” before Christmas were unlikely to have compensated for the “long, difficult build-up”.

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