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Shops braced for sales rush

PUBLISHED: 14:03 26 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK stores are braced for a shopping bonanza when they throw their doors open for the traditional Christmas sales.

Managers predicted town centres would be extremely busy over the next two days, with some forecasting record sales figures.

SUFFOLK stores are braced for a shopping bonanza when they throw their doors open for the traditional Christmas sales.

Managers predicted town centres would be extremely busy over the next two days, with some forecasting record sales figures.

But consumer organisations warned the public of the dangers of getting into debt and urged them not to get carried away in the Christmas sales.

While there will be a scattering of stores opening today, bargain hunters will have to wait until tomorrow for the main rush.

Bob Feltwell, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: "We are expecting it to be extremely busy.

"This year, Christmas shopping patterns have been a little different. Consumers started their shopping in September, October and November and it has been a bit slower in December.

Colin Roberts, manager of the Buttermarket shopping centre in Ipswich, said he was expecting record sales figures because pre-Christmas sales had been disappointing.

Mike Sorhaindo, manager of the town's Tower Ramparts shopping centre, said some stores had not waited until after Christmas to begin their sales.

"Numbers coming through the centre are high, but they are not spending as much as they did last year. People are getting wise and holding back for the sales. The majority of stores are having sales and some started before Christmas."

Meanwhile, the Consumer Credit Council urged the public to be careful in the Christmas sales to avoid getting into debt.

A spokesman said: "The best thing, of course, is to plan ahead for Christmas, which most people don't do, but if it's too late for that, don't ignore your debt.

"Plan how to pay your bills off and don't just pay the minimum amount. Otherwise, problems can get much worse."

The Consumer Credit Council produces a pack to advise people in debt and a helpline, which is open from 8am to 8pm on 0800 138 1111.

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