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By Paul Geater
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
With the busiest month of the year just around the corner, the town centre has received a double dose of good news.
A survey of businesses in the town centre has shown that the proportion of empty retail units has slightly fallen over the last year.
And one of the best-known names on the high streets of Britain is due to open a store in the heart of Ipswich at the end of next week.
Cosmetics retailer Lush is fitting out the former Orange store in Tavern Street and is due to open in the town on Friday week, November 23. Ipswich Central had been trying to attract Lush to the town for some time.
Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “We have assisted Lush with their search for a suitable Ipswich location over a period of years and we’re delighted that they have finally found a prime position.
“Having a national high end retailer invest in the town is extremely positive for Ipswich and we look forward to welcoming more over the coming months.”
A survey by the Business Improvement District (BID) company Ipswich Central last year showed that 87 per cent of the retail units in the town centre were occupied.
It repeated the survey at the beginning of this month and found that 88pc were occupied.
Mr Clement said that by retailers, the survey meant banks, cafes, and restaurants as well as shops.
He said: “The survey is very good news. It is only a small percentage increase, but it is going in the right direction – it shows that the town centre is attracting more investment.”
Ipswich councillor with responsibility for economic development Carole Jones said the news showed the town was on the up.
She said: “As a town we are bucking the trend and are able to attract new business. Having only 12pc empty units is much better than many other places.
“The arrival of Lush is great news – they attract a wide range of customers of all ages. They’re a retailer that will really bring people in to the town.”
Ipswich is set for another boost next year with the conversion of part of the Buttermarket Centre into a Vue cinema and the move of the TK Maxx store within the centre – meaning it should be fully occupied.
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