Across the country, shopping centres, usually filled with Boxing Day shoppers, saw the number of customers plunge by nearly 50% compared to the same day in 2019
Town centre shops suffered a post-Christmas blow as trade slumped by up to 80%, dashing hopes of a revival from the pandemic.
Across the country, shopping centres, usually filled with Boxing Day shoppers, saw the number of customers plunge by nearly 50% compared to the same day in 2019.
In south Essex, traders and business owners saw a huge drop in business, fearing the Covid pandemic and rising Omicron variant cases led people to stay home.
Terry Frazer, owner of Mixtures fashion accessories store in the Victoria Shopping Centre in Southend closed early on Boxing Day.
The 63-year-old, who has run the business for 34 years, said: I usually close at about 4pm on Boxing Day but I shut at 1pm.
We were down about 75 to 80%. It was shocking in Southend and bigger stores were not open, including Wilkinsons and Next, Frazer said.
I don’t know if it’s caused by Covid but people have been telling us they don’t come into the town as there’s nothing here now. The whole centre has been very quiet, Frazer said.
Basildon’s Eastgate Centre saw about 50% fewer customers on Boxing Day but centre bosses remain positive.
Ian Clark said: It was down about 50% but I think that reflects how it was a Sunday and less trading hours. Monday was double that and about 5% down on the same time in 2019. We’ve had the same issues as other centres with large retailers leaving.
He said: But we’ve got some new ones coming and I think it’s still quite positive. Most people are wearing masks and following the rules in the centre.