Shoppers swarm to Christmas sales

TOWN centre shoppers have been heading out in droves to take advantage of massive post-Christmas reductions, traders said today.Store managers said customers who had been cautious in the weeks before December 25 are now willing to part with more of their cash.

TOWN centre shoppers have been heading out in droves to take advantage of massive post-Christmas reductions, traders said today.

Store managers said customers who had been cautious in the weeks before December 25 are now willing to part with more of their cash.

Bargain-hunters flocked to Marks and Spencer's, in Westgate Street, from 6am yesterday as the store slashed prices by up to 70 per cent and opened early for the first time.

And Burton's, in the Cornhill, reported a busy Boxing Day that saw sales up 100 per cent on last year.

Kerry Sore, Marks and Spencer manager, said shoppers were who had tightened their belts before Christmas were happy to spend now.

She said: “It was disappointing in the run up to Christmas - as it was across the whole retail sector - but it was busy yesterday.

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“Customers are capitalising on the bargains. Footfall has been high.”

Rob Naylor, store manager of Burton's, which is offering up to 50 per cent off its stock, said this Boxing Day had seen a dramatic upturn on the last.

He said: “It is phenomenal - it has all turned around very late. People spent less before Christmas and we are seeing the improvement now.”

Last week shopping centre and trade chiefs in Suffolk blamed the credit crunch and rise in online shopping for a quieter than hoped run-up to Christmas.

Buttermarket shopping centre operations manager Andrew Wilcox admitted retailers faced “tough times” but said Sunday trade had risen and the full picture would not be known until mid-January.

Yesterday it reported a high number of customers, with about 36,000 people expected to have come through its doors by the end of the day, compared to 20,000 to 25,000 on an average Thursday.

The Eastgate centre in Carr Street also reported a brisk trade and centre supervisor Paul Ransome said shoppers were out looking for bargains.

He said: “People are getting in the swing of the sales.

“And the weather has had an effect - there has not been much rain since Christmas Day.”

Millions more shoppers avoided the post-Christmas rush and trawled the internet for bargains.

About 3.6 million people spent part of Christmas Day searching for good deals on the internet, according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (MRG).

n. Do you think Ipswich's stores are offering value for money? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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