Has Dereham started its Christmas shopping early?
- Credit: Archant
Businesses in Dereham have reported an early rush for Christmas shopping as customers look to avoid being caught out by potential supply chain issues.
Retailers across the nation have been warning shoppers to beat the crowds to avoid shortages that may arise.
While some Dereham firms have seen usual levels of footfall, many say the difference compared to previous years has been significant.
Paul Hammond, butcher at Tony Perkins on Norwich Street, said it was standard in the industry to begin taking Christmas requests after Bonfire Night.
But the 40-year-old revealed orders had been flying in throughout October, while buying habits have also changed.
"This year we've started well early - about three weeks ago," he added.
"It's to do with people getting ahead of the game. We've been told we shouldn't have any issues with the supply chain, but people are getting a bit concerned they might not get anything.
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"Buying habits have changed a bit because the price of turkey has gone up. People are reverting to a turkey breast joint as opposed to a whole turkey.
"It [the price rise] is partly down to Brexit. The price of feed has gone up and the whole supply chain for farmers has changed."
Carol Weston, who works at Evie's, admitted the Market Place gift and card shop had experienced a hectic time.
"We've been very busy, and the Christmas shopping has definitely started earlier," said the 72-year-old.
"Before we even got Christmas stock out, people were asking us for it. So we had to bring it out earlier than normal.
"It's been everything, really. They are already buying presents, getting their cards.
"I think people are a bit concerned about the supply chain issues. That has come into it."
Jacqui O'Donovan, owner of jewellery shop, Vogue, said customers were also concerned over the potential re-introduction of Covid restrictions.
She said: "It's nice to see lots of people coming out, but there are worries from shoppers about what's going to happen with possible lockdowns.
"I've tried to order my stock in already and it's pretty much here, so I can't afford a closure.
"Last year I did exactly the same - got the orders in, felt comfortable and then we were closed."