Thousands head for the sales in Norwich

From jingle bells to jingle tills - large crowds have been bagging bargains in Norwich as city stores report good trading before Christmas and a great start to the sales.

Some stores went into sale in the run-up to Christmas, some opened up for the first day of sale on Boxing Day but most agree that December 27 is the biggest sale day of the year.

Thousands of shoppers headed to Norwich yesterday eager to snap up bargains in our city which was this year once again hailed a top 10 UK shopping destination.

With its array of shops including two shopping malls, several big name department stores, and lots of independent shops, it is easy to see why Norwich is rated so highly on the national shopping scene.

And while there is no doubt it is tough out there at the moment, Norwich seems well placed to weather any storms ahead with its vibrant mix of stores, the investment recently seen in the city, and the number of new stores and restaurants coming to Norwich.

The Evening News Love Local campaign aims to encourage local people to support Norwich's shops and help the city continue its success in what are currently challenging economic times - and with so many sales at the moment there is no better time to support the stores in Norwich.

Jarrold began its sale at 9am yesterday, and managing director Peter Mitchell said the store was very busy, especially in the menswear department.

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He said the positive start to the sale followed good trading results in the run up to Christmas.

'The sale has started well but we are cautious about January,' he said. 'There is no doubt at the moment that people are hunting for bargains and I do not think that is going to change very much.'

Philip Browne, owner of the men's clothing store Philip Browne, in Norwich Lanes, had a similar view.

He said: 'We had a fantastic week pre-Christmas and we have had a fantastic start to the sale.

'Looking ahead to the new year, it is going to be challenging with the European economy and the effect it could have on the British economy. It is going to be tough trading conditions after the sales.'

Just down the road in Lower Goat Lane, David Finlay runs the mens clothing stores Elements and Elements Projects.

He said: 'It has been pretty good with lots of people around. I was open on Boxing Day and it was way up on last year.

'December 27 is always the busiest day of the year.'

John Lewis, one of the city's big national department stores, reported a good start to their sale.

Richard Marks, general manager for the Norwich store, said: 'We had a really busy day. We opened at 8am and had over 100 people waiting outside. Our car park was full before 10am.

'We were about 5pc up on the peak day (December 27) from last year.'

He said menswear, womenswear and the audio, television and computer department were very busy, and said the store had also seen a very positive December.

The Marks and Spencer sale started at 6am yesterday.

Manager Andy Barber said: 'It was a bit quiet very first thing but from 7am it started to really pick up. We were really, really busy.'

At Chapelfield, marketing manager Sheridan Smith reported the shopping centre had seen a successful run-up to Christmas and a positive start to the sales.

'We have had a very successful Christmas period. We have had very strong footfall and lots of positive reports from our retailers,' she said, adding she felt a range of things including extended opening hours, a Christmas gift guide and extra information points had helped to contribute to this, and that the shopping centre had also seen extremely good gift card sales in the run up to December 25.

At The Mall Norwich, which was also open on Boxing Day as well as yesterday, Vicky Merrison said: 'Trade in the week before Christmas was good. Quite a lot of the retailers are reporting year on year increases which is great news.

'Boxing Day was quite busy, about the same as last year, and yesterday was really busy.'

• For more on Love Local visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk

• Are you opening up a new shop? Email reporter Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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