Sales bring out the shoppers

BARGAIN-hunting Ipswich shoppers have been keen to blow away the Christmas hangover with an early trip to the sales, retailers said today.

BARGAIN-hunting Ipswich shoppers have been keen to blow away the Christmas hangover with an early trip to the sales, retailers said today.

Thousands of shoppers couldn't wait for January sales - and have been happy to start looking for bargains even before they've finished the turkey!

Andy Rayner, retail spokesman for the Ipswich Partnership, said: “Sales have been buoyant since the move over from Christmas.

“There is a lot of activity in the town and as you look outside you see lots of people walking past with shopping bags.

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“The general feeling is very positive at the moment and the signs from the shops are very encouraging.

“Over the recent years there has been more emphasis on the first few days of the sale.

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“People wait to see what they got for Christmas and then spend money on themselves.”

Among the shops that are benefiting from people getting out and spending their cash is Debenhams on Westgate Street.

Neil Roberts, the store manager, said: “It's been a very strong time since Christmas.

“There is a definite swing at this time of year towards people spending their store vouchers and every year this time period seems to do better and better.”

And Mr Roberts said the whole of the festive season had been positive for the department store adding: “We've performed well throughout even though there has been talk nationally of a 25 year slump in retail - it's not something we've experienced.

“And the last week before Christmas in particular was very good; the cold weather may have helped because lots of people bought warm clothes.”

But not everyone involved the Ipswich shopping trade had experienced such a merry Christmas.

Damian Thompson, who works on the Nigel Parker Fruit and Vegetables stall on the Cornhill, said: “The whole period has been a little bit down on last year.

“I don't know if it's a bit to do with the horrid events and people don't have the spirit to carry on quite as normal.

“We're still earning a living though and it got very busy right before Christmas. People kept it right until the last minute this year.

“We're optimistic things will be getting better now though.”

And another stall worker said she also thought her shop would be performing well in the January sales.

Carol Keightly, who works on the M & M Socks stand, said: “In general sales have been about the same as last year.

“It is been getting really cold now and we have been doing well because of that, so we are pleased with the way it is going and think it will continue to be good for us.”

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