Shop staff gear up for busy Boxing Day

SHOPPERS will be lured to Ipswich town centre on Boxing Day with the offer of free buses and more shops open than ever before.Ipswich Buses is laying on free transport during the day while major chains, shopping centres and even smaller stores are opening on Sunday in a bid to get the post-Christmas shopping rush off to an early start.

SHOPPERS will be lured to Ipswich town centre on Boxing Day with the offer of free buses and more shops open than ever before.

Ipswich Buses is laying on free transport during the day while major chains, shopping centres and even smaller stores are opening on Sunday in a bid to get the post-Christmas shopping rush off to an early start.

Traditionally Boxing Day has been a slow trading day but Ipswich Partnership is doing its best to turn the Christmas hangover into a shoppers' delight.

"Last year Ipswich had a number of stores that opened on Boxing Day and that proved to be extremely successful," Paul Clement, head of Ipswich Partnership, said.

"On the back of the success of that more stores are opening on Boxing Day than have opened before."

Many stores will be open from 10.30am until 4.30pm and traders are hoping the offer of free transport and a busy town centre will draw people to Ipswich.

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The pre-Christmas trading period has proved difficult for traders nationally, with takings down on previous years but in Ipswich businesses say they feel they have fared better than their counterparts in other towns.

"The feedback we're getting is nationally it's been quite mixed," Mr Clement said.

"In Ipswich it has held up fairly well. I think we've weathered the storm.

"By and large retailers in the town are telling us they are trading above last year.

The last-minute shopping rush was expected to see £1.31 billion going through the tills on Christmas Eve - equivalent to £909,000 every minute.

And research from Sainsbury's Bank Credit Cards revealed that shoppers in East Anglia were the most organised with only 5.5 per cent planning to do their shopping on Christmas Eve.

Londoners were the least organised, with 11.7 per cent planning to do the bulk of their shopping on December 24.

Lucy Hunter, credit card manager at Sainsbury's Bank, said: "Our research indicates that an estimated £282 million will be spent on credit cards on Christmas Eve alone, so, if using a credit card, choose one that offers good value as not all of them do.

"It should be a busy day for the shops with millions of people planning to do some of their shopping on Christmas Eve."

N What needs to be done to attract more shoppers to Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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