Shoppers still out and about

Freezing fog did not deter many shoppers venturing out. Norwich city centre was bustling with people hoping to find a last-minute bargain - while trade in the market towns was brisk.

Freezing fog did not deter many shoppers venturing out.

Norwich city centre was bustling with people hoping to find a last-minute bargain - while trade in the market towns was brisk.

Martin Macwhinnie, general manager of The Mall in Norwich, said: “I think people have been coming out anyway but because we have a big catchment area it is difficult to say if they are from further afield.”

And Rob Barton, general manager of House of Fraser in Chapelfield, added: “Trading is very buoyant and there is certainly no shortage of customers. We have seen tremendous increases across the store compared to last year.”

Dereham was reported busier than ever, with slow-moving traffic, massive queues at both Tesco's and Morrisons and crowded streets.

But Peter Cook, vice-chairman of the High Street traders' association in Lowestoft, said he thought the fog and freezing conditions were having a negative impact on the number of people shopping later in the day.

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“There are still plenty of people around, but you find that after 4pm it is completely dead. I think the weather must affect it because people don't like driving in these conditions.”

Philip Kemp, who owns Toy Box in Beccles and the Halesworth Toy Shop, said the picture was the same in both towns. “It hasn't been as busy as we expected. I think people are just staying at home altogether.”

Kevin Smith, manager of the Horsefair Shopping Centre in Wisbech, said: “It has been very busy, but then this is the Christmas week and we are as busy as we would expect to be.

“But I'm sure the weather probably has meant that some people have decided to shop locally, rather than travel to places like Peterborough.”

King's Lynn's Vancouver Shopping Centre has been getting steadily busier in the run-up to Christmas.

But manager Dave Corbett said he did not think the fog was affecting the figures, one way or another.

“I think it's because now we are fully open and we've got a lot more new names here,” he said. “Certainly people are choosing to shop locally but we had seen that before the Christmas run-in.

“People will shop whether there's fog or not.”