Video: How to beat the recession

STRUGGLING with the credit crunch has caused some shoppers in Ipswich town centre to go bargain hunting.

STRUGGLING with the economic downturn has caused some shoppers in Ipswich town centre to go bargain hunting.

Affordable high street stores and second hand shops are benefiting as the recession compels customers to buy items they would normally get from more expensive stores.

The volatility of the economy has forced the public to cut back on spending in the lead up to Christmas, but business is good for traders offering an affordable alternative to their costly neighbours.

Shoppers continue to flood in and out of value giant Primark, in Westgate Street, while other stores only welcome a slow trickle of custom.

In July, M&S revealed non-food sales in the previous quarter had fallen by 6.2 per cent as retailers such as MK One and Ghost fell into administration.

Primark meanwhile has done steady business during the financial downturn with sales growing 4pc in the last year - and shoppers in Ipswich are eager to take advantage of savings.

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Jay and Sandra Mulvey, from Chantry, were confident they had got more for their money as they left Primark yesterday.

The couple were both made redundant after the closure of energy provider e-on's Wherstead Park offices. Mrs Mulvey said: “At this time of year, when you're buying lots of presents for lots of people, you have to do what you can.

“I bought a pair of pyjamas for £6 that would have probably cost twice as much from another shop.”

Charity shops have also seen a rise in custom as shoppers become thriftier with their cash but worryingly less people are prepared to donate their old items.

Helen Starling manages the Upper Brook Street branch of Cancer Research UK. She said: “I don't think the credit crunch has affected us.

“We're still ticking over but the trouble we're having is with people making donations to the shop.

“People are keeping hold of their clothes that little bit longer because they can't afford to buy anything new.”

Areef Karim, who runs Around a Pound, in Westgate Street, has noticed a slump in trade despite offering almost everything in his shop at a knockdown price.

He said: “We're not really very busy compared to last year and I think the financial crisis is to blame. People are spending less and only buying things they really need.

“We hope business will improve but at the moment we have more stock than we're able to sell.”

- Have you been hit by the recession? Are you relying on more affordable stores for your Christmas shop? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

What a fiver can get you this Christmas. Five bargain items picked up at a pound store in Ipswich:

Roll of wrapping paper

2009 diary

Umbrella

Pack of four batteries

Children's toy car