Shoppers in Ipswich not yet spending as much as pre-pandemic

Shoppers turned out in Ipswich on Monday ahead of the second national lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY

Shoppers are not spending as much in Ipswich as they were pre-pandemic - Credit: Archant

Shoppers have not returned to Ipswich with the same force that they have gone back to high streets in more deprived parts of the country, new data has revealed. 

The Centre for Cities has published its latest figures on spending and footfall across towns and cities in the UK, with Ipswich posting a spending index of 86.

This index is based upon data from card transactions and is compared to a pre-lockdown baseline of 100.

It is down from an initial boost in mid-April when the town posted index readings of 94 — around the same levels that were seen at points in the run up to Christmas — before starting to drop off.

It comes as footfall figures from Ipswich Borough Council showed 212,595 people visited the town centre in April. Compared to just 155,000 the month before.

The amount of money being spent in other major centres in East Anglia has also not fully recovered, with Norwich posting a spending index of 95 compared to pre-pandemic levels, and Cambridge 84.

Conversely, the highest spends - and as a result the highest volume of footfall - have been seen in towns and cities with lower average incomes.

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Coming out on top for spend was Huddersfield with an index figure of 119, followed by the likes of Mansfield and Blackburn close behind at 117.

Valentine Quinio, analyst at Centre for Cities, said: “Many less affluent places are seeing faster recoveries from lockdown than more prosperous ones. While this may seem surprising, the likely reason for this is because, pre-pandemic, overall levels of spending in less affluent cities and towns were lower than in more prosperous ones, with a smaller share of non-essential spending. Therefore, they will recover to their pre-pandemic spending levels more quickly.

“The other reason is that larger, more affluent places tend to be more reliant on office workers who spend their money on the high street. As long as workers stay at home, these places won't recover.

“It is important to stress, however, that for less affluent cities, returning to pre-Covid levels of economic prosperity is not enough. To build back better in the long-term local policy makers should develop plans to attract more high-skilled, high paying jobs to their areas.”

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