Ipswich bucks the trend as Christmas brings shoppers to the town
- Credit: Archant
As some of the largest retail names in the country were left smarting over disappointing Christmas sales figures, town centre bosses in Ipswich were upbeat about the town’s festive season.
Ipswich Central said many of its members had seen an increase in sales – and those stores which had recently opened or expanded had seen a particularly good Christmas.
One sector that had suffered, however, were stores selling winter clothing – the mild weather had left many thick coats and warm sweaters on the hangers and had led to major discounts.
Yesterday high street giant Next warned its sales this Christmas were 0.5% down on last year, and retail analysts are fear a similar story when Marks and Spencer figures are released tomorrow.
However Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “The Christmas trading period appears to have been a good one for businesses in the town centre with many reporting that sales this year are up on those of last year.
“It’s been especially pleasing to hear that New Look, since its move to a new unit in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, has had a prosperous Christmas, as too has Pandora which was inundated with customers over the festive period.
“Many of our bars have also been busy with Degeo, our Best Bar None overall winner, reporting a very good trading period.
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“People are choosing to shop and spend their time in Ipswich which is great news for local businesses boosted by the changes due to take place in the town centre over the next year.”
Many major stores do not publish the trading details of individual stores, but Ipswich Central had been told that stores which sell a lot of warm clothing had suffered because of the mild weather.
Independent traders in the town had also seen more customers this year than last.
Cathy Frost, who runs LoveOne in St Peter’s Street, said the number of people visiting the area had not increased substantially this year – but they had spent much more money.
She said: “The Christmas period has been the best I have seen, and I’ve been here seven years.
“It started later this year, but there was a real a buzz about the place, especially at weekends.”
That view was shared by her neighbours Applaud Coffee – which was called Baker and Barista until recently.
Hannah Huntly from Applaud said: “The Christmas period went really well. There were lots of people about and a lot of people wanted to get together over a coffee here. I think there were especially a lot of people home for Christmas who met up with friends here over a coffee.”