Concern over Christmas sales

IT has been a quiet festive season so far – but high street shops are hoping seasonal offers will soon pull in the punters.Shops have so far failed to see as busy a Christmas rush as last year.

IT has been a quiet festive season so far – but high street shops are hoping seasonal offers will soon pull in the punters.

Shops have so far failed to see as busy a Christmas rush as last year.

And chamber of commerce chief Bob Feltwell thinks the weather is to blame.

He said: "I think because we have had a lot of good weather, people have forgotten Christmas is coming.


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"I think shops have thought they need to stimulate shopping.

"It has been steady, but retailers look to this period as the primary part of their annual turnover – as much as 60 to 70 per cent.

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"Many have started their sales earlier than in previous years. They are now looking forward to a good Christmas season."

Many high street shops such as Boots and Waterstones are currently full of seasonal offers – a model the retailers say was successful last year.

Rebecca Hulme-Edwardson, spokeswoman for Boots, said: "Customer traffic has been lower this year. It is a general high street thing.

"I think people are leaving their Christmas shopping later.

"The offers will definitely help to boost sales as they provide good value for money.

"This is our third year doing these offers and it is successful."

Jo Marino, a spokeswoman for Waterstone's, agreed. She said: "Over the past few years, Christmas shopping is getting later and later.

"What we aim to do is to make sure there are value for money offers to bring in the customers.

"The customers did come last year, even though it was later than the year before."

Slow trade in Ipswich was matched by struggling sales in other high streets around the country.

A national retail survey revealed the number of people out shopping over the weekend was down five per cent on the same time last year.

November also saw about 4pc fewer shoppers on the high street compared to the same month last year.

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