Independent stores in the east warn they're being disproportionately hit by the second lockdown

  • Watch our report from Rob Setchell

Independent traders across the region say they need more support if they're to survive the latest lockdown, in what should be the busiest time of year for shops.

Stores can stay open if they stock mainly essential items, but they're also allowed to sell other goods.

But smaller, specialist shops who've been forced to close say that's just not fair

Coes department store has been part of the fabric of Ipswich Since 1928, but it will be weeks, at least, before customers see this year's Christmas displays.

Shut except for internet orders, the Covid crisis will cost the business around a million pounds this year and the company says the second lockdown is hitting independent stores hardest.

The sense of injustice is shared by many small businesses who feel their key Christmas trade is already going to the big stores deemed essential.

Christmas shop in Ipswich forced to close Credit: ITV Anglia

Ipswich Borough Council served a prohibition order on a Christmas shop this week.

They'd stayed open, selling things like toilet roll and toothpaste, among the tinsel.

Not a "substantial amount of essential goods", according to the council .

Some are calling for non essential shops to open Credit: ITV Anglia

Sarah Simonds runs a clothes shop in Swaffham in Norfolk.

She's one of four thousand people who've signed a petition calling for non-essential shops to stay open.

Shops in Soutwold have gone digital Credit: ITV Anglia

Window shopping's gone digital in Southwold.

QR codes allow people to order items online, part of the bid to cling onto some festive trade as shoppers turn to the internet.

Even if lockdown's lifted next month, there'll be no quick fix for independent stores.

Many local traders want sustained support and rates relief next year.