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Ipswich bucks the national trend

PUBLISHED: 16:22 12 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

IS Ipswich bucking the national trend - yet again?

In the past it has battled through downward spirals in the national spending leagues and it seems as though the same could be happening now.

By Lynn Abbott

IS Ipswich bucking the national trend – yet again?

In the past it has battled through downward spirals in the national spending leagues and it seems as though the same could be happening now.

As national reports show that retail spending generally is down by around 6.5 per cent the Ipswich indicators are not following suit.

Information coming from the shopping malls, such as Tower Ramparts show that footfall through the centre is about the same as this time last year.

The same can be said for the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society where assistant general manager, Bill Knowles said: "We haven't noticed any significant changes.

Mike Sorhaindo, manager of Tower Ramparts said that although the world situation involving the terrorist attacks on America and the current war is undoubtedly responsible for there being less happy-faced shoppers about, trade is fairly buoyant.

Marks & Spencer has taken an upturn nationally, as has their share value, and in Ipswich a sale of ten per cent on some items helped boost the volume of customers there and in the area this week.

With thoughts of the American atrocities ever on our minds, the level economy of Ipswich could have been put explained to some degree if fewer people were taking leisure trips to London but Anglia Railways doesn't believe that to be the case.

Spokesman, Peter Meades said that passenger numbers now are about the same as usual for the time of year.

He added: "In the immediate aftermath of September 11 we noticed that more people stayed home and only used the trains if they had to.

"This was nothing to do with concern for safety but because they were staying home to watch events unfold on their televisions.

"But things soon got back to normal, both on our London trains and on the local lines. Over the last two or three years we have noticed a distinct increase in the number of people coming in to Ipswich on our local trains," he added.

Since the introduction of the Sunday services between Ipswich and Felixstowe it has given more opportunities for two-way traffic.

More people about but they are not likely to be tourists from far afield and as David Stainer, manager of the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre said, the number of American visitors is down.

"A lot of Americans come here at this time of the year but they are noticeably fewer at the moment. This is probably because they are following the advice of their government not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

"Usually they come here to visit relatives and also to renew acquaintances with people they knew while on the bases nearby.

If it is not the American tourists helping to pad out the town centre streets and keep the retail economy on an even keel then the visitors must be coming from closer to home.

The Premiership status of Ipswich Town Football Club is a constant draw and the improving facilities of the area are added attractions.

It is hopefully a package that will continue keeping Ipswich on the map and doing the opposite to elsewhere.

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