Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
South Essex shops busy over jubilee weekend
11:30am Friday 8th June 2012 in Castle Point
THE Queen’s Jubilee coupled with a wet Bank Holiday failed to dampen shoppers’ spirits across south Essex.
The unseasonal weather meant temperatures were below average and many people decided to stay indoors and watch the royal celebrations on TV.
However, shopping centres still enjoyed a good flow of bank holiday shoppers keen to pick up bargains.
The Eastgate shopping centre, Basildon, reported “crowds” of people over the four-day weekend, while Southend business Ravens, in Clifftown Road, attracted customers with its own jubilee event. The department store usually opens Monday to Saturday and closes on bank holidays, but it made an exception this year to celebrate 60 years of trading in the same premises.
Owner Neil Raven explained staff had written to regular customers inviting them to the store to enjoy the festivities.
He said: “We had quite a bit on and it worked quite well. We were doing champagne and cake. We had written to people and given them an incentive to come in.”
The Royals Shopping Centre, in Southend, was busy too.
Operations manager Darren Lang said: “The two bank holidays were the equivalent of a busy Sunday.
“The weather has been a bit of a problem, but I think people still came out, did their shopping and went back to watch the jubilee.”
Seafront traders didn’t fare as well.
Roger Fisher, who owns Doodahs takeaway, on Southend seafront, said: “It has been an extremely disappointing bank holiday.
“The Jubilee had an impact, but the weather had more of an effect.
“I think people looked at the weather and thought ‘we will just stop in and watch all the jubilee stuff on the telly’.
“There were quite a lot of street parties going on around the town too and obviously it had a bearing on it. A lot of those people were getting a bit damp.”
Mr Fisher had a novel idea about how to boost seafront trade in bad weather.
He said: “With Euro 2012 coming up in a couple of weeks and the Olympics this summer, we could really do with a big television screen down here.
“People could watch a bit of it and then wander off and go in the pub. It would be an added attraction, particularly when the weather is not at its best.”