Town stores try to defy the gloom

RETAILERS in Bury St Edmunds have issued a defiant message despite the closure of some shops in the town.

Will Clarke

RETAILERS in Bury St Edmunds have issued a defiant message despite the closure of some shops in the town.

Woolworths has recently shut its doors, along with clothing retailer Jumper, the Pure juice café and the Stone Angel café, all in Abbeygate Street. Women's fashion retailer Mirror Mirror on Woolhall Street also closed earlier this year.

However, it is thought prospective occupants of the large former Woolworths on the Cornhill shop have been found and many other businesses are reporting solid trading.

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Dougie Ianson, owner-manager of the Decanter wine bar on Mustow Street, which is currently closed for a refurbishment, said he was determined to thrive: “It has been difficult period for a lot of bars. We have had a fantastic year - much better than expected given the current climate and we are looking to the future.”

Paul Marchant, managing director of Marchants Cookware Emporium in St Johns Street, said: “Trade is reasonable - there are quite a few people about and it has been positive. We have never done sales because we don't think they are fair.”

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

Steve Peters, Bury town centre manager, said he was confident the empty units would be occupied again soon: “These are prominent units and we are confident in finding tenants for them.”

Chrissy Harrod, chairman of Bury Town Centre Management and a director of the Bury Chamber of Commerce, said she had confidence in Bury's future: “Bury is a healthy place despite what is going on, if you compare us against other towns people say Bury is a good bet. I understand a tenant has been found for the Woolworths unit and we are confident of filling the others.”

John McMillan, president of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, where the only major loss has been Woolworths, 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.”

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