Ipswich: Shopping centre ready for cracking Christmas

IPSWICH: A town shopping centre is celebrating the arrival of four new stores as it gears up for a cracking Christmas.

The Buttermarket in Ipswich is welcoming back Ipswich Town Football Club shop Planet Blue and menswear stores Merc, Giorgio and Attitude Inc.

Their arrival will add more festive shopping sparkle to the centre, which recently welcomed a new operator to breathe life back into its large food court area, which had been vacant for two years. It opened in October following a half-a-million pound makeover.

Footfall over the last few months has been “exceptionally good”, the centre says.

Centre manager Colin Roberts said: “I must admit we are thrilled. I spent most of Saturday out on the mall just walking about soaking up the atmosphere.

“We have every shop bar one filled now.”

A deal has been struck for the one remaining store although the shop fit-out won’t be open in time for Christmas.

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“The really good news is that all the shops are long-term deals and we have only the two kiosks which are temporary Christmas traders,” said Mr Roberts.

“For some time now, we have been looking to strengthen our menswear offer and we are really pleased that we have been able to do that at a swoop.”

Mr Roberts said business had been brisk in recent months.

“In terms of footfall to the centre, we have had an exceptionally good last three months with visitor numbers being ahead of last year by 6 per cent overall, so we are looking forward to a very successful Christmas,” he added.

Retailer Alan Rayner, who is running the Merc shop, said there had been “a very good reaction” to the new store from shoppers.

“I like the building and it blends in with the range. Everything goes together,” he said. “I chose Ipswich because of the character that Ipswich has got and the surrounding area. It suits the company and it suits the shop and it suits the town.”

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