Felixstowe fights for shoppers' money

SHOPPERS are being encouraged to enjoy a day at the seaside as part of their trip to the stores this Christmas.

SHOPPERS are being encouraged to enjoy a day at the seaside as part of their trip to the stores this Christmas.

Felixstowe is supporting the Evening Star's Your Town Needs You campaign - telling people there are a host of good reasons to stay inthe resort and visit its town centre.

Peter Dawes, chairman of the chamber of trade, said businesses were giving mixed views on the effects of the recession so far.

“I have had a couple telling me they are still doing quite well, but quite a few are finding it more difficult and feel there could be tough times ahead, so anything we can do to promote Felixstowe we are all for it,” he said.

“As a town we have an excellent selection of shops, some new restaurants and coffee houses, and our parking is cheaper than many towns and close to the shops.

“But the best thing about Felixstowe is our seafront - which other towns cannot offer. We would encourage people to come down and shop, but enjoy a day out and visit the seafront, have a walk through the gardens, stop and have lunch.”

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Many traders say shoppers are being shrewder with their money, and the VAT cut is doing little to encourage people to spend more because the price cut on most items is hardly noticeable.

Carol Jones, owner of gift shop Glyph in Hamilton Road, said it was a case of use it or lose for many independent shops if the recession is prolonged.

“There is a definite downturn. We did notice it early and pulled the reins in a bit and got prepared but it will be difficult if this continues next year,” she said.

“We would urge people to come to Felixstowe - our shops sell many different items you might not find in the larger towns and the prices are often cheaper.”

Partrick Naylor, of The Leather Shop, Bent Hill, said the niche market was very important.

“There are lots of shops offering goods you cannot buy elsewhere - I have people come from Colchester, Norwich, and Cambridge after leather goods they cannot buy anywhere else in the region, and many go straight on to the Remnants Shop because that is the biggest of its kind. We need to tell people about our specialist shops,” he said.

Has the VAT cut made any difference to your spending? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk