Shops prepare for tough Christmas

RETAILERS in Ipswich will face a tough time next year unless people in the town back high street stores this Christmas - that was today's blunt warning from town centre businesses.

RETAILERS in Ipswich will face a tough time next year unless people in the town back high street stores this Christmas - that was today's blunt warning from town centre businesses.

Amid the current economic slowdown many high street retailers are reporting reduced profits due to less people being willing to splash out on goods.

Paul Clement, director of Ipswich Central, said trading conditions in the town will be tough this year but believes it has the right mix of shops to weather the storm.

He is issuing a call to people to shop locally over the festive period to prevent shops in Ipswich falling victim to the downturn next year.


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“Fairly obviously this is going to be a challenging period for retailers up and down the country,” he said.

“I think by and large the retail spend will remain the same this Christmas - we are not going to cancel Christmas. What is particularly important this year is that the money being spent is spent in our own high street.

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“If we don't do that, retailers are going to have to consider their options post-Christmas. We are all still going to buy, but now is the year more than any other time to spend it in Ipswich. It is really a time to support your own retailers - it is absolutely crucial.”

Mr Clement said there is a wide-range of stores available in Ipswich to rival the offer in out of town centres.

However he fears that unless people back Ipswich over the next five weeks the provision in the town centre could suffer next year as a result.

He is also concerned that poor sales figures in the town could make Ipswich a less attractive venue for retailers looking to set up in the area.

“In the past I have said competition is competition but this year it is a totally different message. The next five weeks are the most crucial five weeks of the year for retailers. A lot of retailers take somewhere in the region of 25pc of their annual takings in these five weeks.”

Are you concerned about the future of Ipswich town centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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