We buck national trends by shopping in the rain

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RECORD rainfall failed to put off Bury St Edmunds shoppers as the town bucked national trends.

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest figures show a nationwide 5.5 per cent drop in high street footfall in the three months to July, compared with last year, with the east the third hardest hit region with a drop of 7.3 per cent.

But Mark Cordell, Bid4Bury’s chief executive, said on Wednesday: “The 7.3 per cent drop in the east is not reflected in Bury and June was an excellent month for footfall.”

The BRC said the expected ‘Jubilee bounce’ failed to appear but Mr Cordell said in Bury June figures were up 30 per cent over May and only 0.3 per cent down on the drier June of 2011.

Surprisingly, the very wet areas of Wales and Northern Ireland were the only two regions to show an increase in shopper footfall.

Mr Cordell suggested: “It always rains in Wales so a bit more rain is going to have less of an impact than in what is, for us in the East, normally a good month.”

The figures also show footfall in out of town centres, nationally was down only 1.2 per cent and in covered shopping centres was down a mere 0.4 per cent.

Diane Wehrle, research director for the customer numbers monitor Springboard, said: “Out of town retail locations have shown more resilience – they are more convenient to access by car, provide cheaper car parking, and consumers can avoid venturing outside in the rain”.

Mr Cordell agreed: “If you go to retail parks outside town there’s no cost and you park outside the shops. Bury is not going to be able to avoid the economic situation, car parking charges and the weather.

“We we must not be complacent.”