Traders’ delight as town sees rise in footfall

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business leaders in Bury St Edmunds have hailed this Christmas a success after a good season for many of the town’s shops.

Paul Haynes, manager of the arc shopping centre, said there had been a 15 per cent rise in footfall and sales at the centre and the figure had risen year after year.

He said: “We seem to be a success story. We are waiting for final statistics but we are expecting to see a 15 per cent rise on sales and footfall.

“From speaking to stores in the centre they seem to think we are attracting people from towards Ipswich and Cambridge. It is a nice day out – you can come to Bury and shop and go to both independent shops and the bigger brands.”

Mark Cordell, Bid4Bury’s chief executive, echoed Mr Haynes’ view saying there was a healthy increase in people in town shopping over Christmas.

He said: “Business in general was very good in regards to numbers of people over Christmas. It is not just the big national stores, I had a small independent gift shop get in touch only today saying it was their best year ever.”

But Andrew Denny, chairman of Bury St Edmunds’ Chamber of Commerce, warned that although the town was faring better than most, it was still vulnerable to the recession.

He said: “Generally I would say it was a good couple of weeks for the town but not as much a sustained upturn as in previous years. Generally, Bury is faring much better than most towns in East Anglia. We have a lot to offer people here but as a town we are not recession proof.”

Following the success of late night shopping over Christmas the idea has been floated that it should become a regular event.

But Mr Haynes said it would very be difficult to arrange.

He said: “To launch late night shopping in 2012 we would need to sign up a large number of shops to match the customers’ expectations. The danger is then that people won’t come in sufficient numbers and the businesses will lose out.”