Shoppers out in force for final weekend before Christmas

Crowds on Westgate Street in Ipswich

Crowds descended on Westgate Street in Ipswich on the last weekend before Christmas. - Credit: DANIELLE BOODEN

Shops reported a "really busy" final weekend of trading before Christmas - although some found their stores less packed than they might have been, as people adhered to coronavirus restrictions.

The last weekend before Christmas coincided with prime minister Boris Johnson's announcement of stricter rules over the festive period.

Fiona Coe, marketing manager for independent retailer Coes, in Norwich Road, Ipswich, felt the announcement led to a quieter Sunday of trading.

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"Yesterday was a relatively good day – people in getting a few last minute things," Mrs Coe said on Sunday.

"And then today has been a little bit quieter.

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"We've noticed this as a little bit of a trend throughout the whole pandemic.

"Usually when there's a big announcement, it's quiet for a day or so afterwards then it picks up again afterwards.

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"People just take some time to absorb it. But then in a day or so they will say we just need to reassess and make the best of whatever we can do."

Elsewhere in town, traders said both days of the weekend had been busy.

Lawra Stubbs, who runs Miss Quirky Kicks in Orwell Place, said: "It's definitely been a busy one.

Lawra Stubbs, who runs the Miss Quirky Kicks shop in Orwell Place.

Lawra Stubbs, who runs the Miss Quirky Kicks shop in Orwell Place, Ipswich. - Credit: SOPHIE BARNETT

"It's been weird – one minute it has been really busy, then it will be quiet the next. But overall it has been a really good weekend."

Across the whole of the Christmas shopping period, Miss Stubbs said that slower takings in the shop, compared to last year, had been balanced out by increased online orders.

In Bury St Edmunds, René van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers on St John's Street, said: "It's been really busy actually.

René van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds.

René van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

"Although footfall didn't seem that high, we've had lots of people in the shop.

"I think people have started shopping with a purpose rather than just wandering about and diving into shops to have a look around.

"Now people just come into town, get what they need and just go back home again. It's the right attitude I think."


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