Garrard Cricket Bat Company and Coes report strong sales
Cricket bats, tennis rackets and running coaches were in demand in the weeks following the lifting of the third coronavirus lockdown, according to Suffolk sports retailers.
Organized team sports have been allowed outdoors since March 29, while gyms and non-essential retailers were able to reopen on April 12, and since then shoppers have been preparing to resume playing sports.
William Coe, boss of Coes department store in Ipswich, said: “Sport has actually been one of our strongest areas since the first lockdown.
“We’ve had a great start in the first three weeks since our opening and before this online sport is doing well.
“Obviously it depends on the sport itself. Last summer we sold tons of trainers because a lot of people were running.
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“Since we’ve been back, the big three for us have been cricket, tennis and running. Not so much rugby or football, although I know some clubs still play a little.
“I expect a strong fall winter in terms of rugby and hockey etc. but not quite yet.”
Ed Garrard, of the West Row-based Garrard Cricket Bat Company, said people are buying bats and equipment ahead of the upcoming season.
“People are very keen on having new bats,” he said. “I wonder if last year people haven’t spent money and because they haven’t been to the pub they have money to spend on luxury goods like cricket bats.
“I often say that if we’re that busy at the end of June, I’ll be happy, but when we get there, I hope it will last until August.
“The pandemic has really revolutionized our business. Because we had to do everything online, we changed our way of doing things and adjusted the price.
“Because no one could visit the workshop, we sold many more items in stock at a slightly lower price. As they are not custom made, we don’t feel like we can charge the full £ 350-400.
“This continues and we have actually found a small niche at a slightly lower price.”
Mr Garrard said he had not seen interest in the sport after England’s victory at the Cricket World Cup in the summer of 2019 materialize in new players or customers.