Halstead's town centre has been “sleepy” between Christmas and New Year while shoppers seek bargains out-of-town, traders say.

Shoppers have been out in force at outlet locations such as Braintree Freeport hunting for deals in the post-Christmas sales.

But retailers believe footfall in Halstead is unlikely to return to normal until after the New Year.

Halstead Chamber of Trade chairman Anne-Maree Robertson said: “I think the town, like lots of places, is a bit sleepy.

“Whilst people are about, I very much suspect they are just buying essentials.

“You have so much build up to Christmas and afterwards people just go to sleep until January 2.

“Some people will specifically go out on Boxing Day to Freeport, Colchester High Street or Chelmsford, but the two supermarkets in Halstead were closed and I suspect the rest of the town was too.”