Still fewer shoppers on the streets of Ipswich despite sales
- Credit: Paul Geater
Not even mild, dry weather could encourage crowds of shoppers to get out and search for bargains as concerns about Covid seemed to keep many shoppers at home between Christmas and the new year.
Shoppers seemed unwilling to return to Ipswich town centre in droves either on the first days after Christmas or towards the end of week - there were some on the streets visiting a few stores, but nowhere near the numbers that are usually seen during sales.
William Coe, managing director of Coes in Norwich Road, said business had clearly been affected by the pandemic and the caution felt by many shoppers before heading out.
His company started its sale this week, and there had been a steady stream of shoppers but not as many as in previous years: "Things are not really as we would like - but I think that is a reflection of the times we are in.
"There are a number of factors, the day of the week that Christmas falls on and when the sales actually start - but the current situation is a factor."
He said sales were not as much of a highlight as they were because firms tried hard to avoid being left with large amounts of unsold stock at the end of the Christmas period.
Although his store is not in the heart of the town, he said the economic health of the central area was important - his customers often combined a visit to Coes with a general shopping trip to Ipswich.
He said: "It is is important to us that there is a vibrant town centre. I think we are all aware that this year there have been fewer people browsing although those who do come in appear to know what they want and where to get it and are spending good money."
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Overall figures for retail over the Christmas and New Year period are expected to be published early in 2022 but a national study by Barclaycard showed that consumer spending had increased in 2021 - but that online retailers continued to see a big growth in the wake of the lockdown early in the year.