CLEAR blue skies and the promise of heavily discounted prices brought thousands of shoppers on to the streets of the capital to hunt for Boxing Day bargains.
Many typically said they bought clothes, footwear, toys and cosmetics for about 50 per cent of their advertised value at the start of the week. Next and USC were among the busiest stores in central Edinburgh, and there was a run on the handbags at Harvey Nichols.
Among those braving the crowds and chilly, early-morning temperatures were Evelyn Scott, 65, and daughter Fiona, 40, from Penicuik, Midlothian, who said they had bought about £1,000 worth of goods for £450. They began queueing outside Next at Straiton retail park before dawn, then moved on to the city centre later.
Fiona, below left, said: “We arrived at 5:50am and the queue must have been half a mile long, with people desperate to be first in.
“We’ve loads of bargains, particularly clothes for the kids to last them the year, like chinos, jeans and tops, all half price at least.”
Maureen Benson, 68, below, a retired social care worker from Gilmerton, had seven bags of shopping for Christmas 2014. She said: “I’ve two sons, five grandkids and three great-grandkids, so it does pay to plan ahead. The best deal so far was a lovely jacket from USC for my son – £90, down from £190. Now all I have to do it get it home somehow.”
Emma Ness, the manager of Next’s Princes Street store, described the early morning rush as “extremely busy” adding: “It’s bonkers in here, to be honest”.
Elsewhere in Princes Street, the bargains included USC high-collared jackets at £90, down from £190, and Gap hooped sweaters for £14.99, down from £29.99. In George Street, Fat Face was selling Lomond Lightweight puffer jackets for £35, down from £68, while in Charles Tyrwhitt, cashmere overcoats were £199, down from £400.
Many shoppers said they had expected the crowds to be even busier, and thought numbers had been spread out due to some sales beginning before Christmas.
Shaeron Averbuch, 48, below, an artist from Canonmills, was out shopping with her daughter Lola, seven
She bought camping kit from Blacks for £100, down from £200 before Christmas, along with several pairs of half-price shoes from Rogerson Footwear in Rose Street.
She said: “We hadn’t even planned to come out shopping but it was a lovely day and we thought we might get a few good deals.
“The weather has been much better than before Christmas but the shops still aren’t as busy as I’ve seen them in the past.”
Marina Sharp, 43, left, an insurance worker from Gilmerton, was also at Next for its 6am opening.
She said: “It’s started to be tradition of ours, to camp outside Next from 5:45am and then get home early.
“We tend to buy everyday things, outfits for work, socks and shoes – why pay more during the year when you can stock up now.
“But I did treat myself to a Mulberry bag with 40 per cent off with my Christmas money.
“Myself and my husband thought it was quiet compared to other years, probably because some sales start before Christmas now.”
David Williams, 51, above, a Network Rail worker from Slateford, bought a Lush bath set as an extra present for his wife. It was £34, down from £68. He said: “We haven’t over-indulged on the presents this Christmas, but there were a few good deals so I came out early. We tend to shop around a lot more than we used to and I think a lot of other people are the same, out looking for bargains.”
Tanya Seaton, 45, and her daughter Georgia, 14, were on holiday in Edinburgh from Cambridge and hit the shops at 8am.
She said: “My husband has taken the first batch back to the car, so we’re on our second lot of bags now.
“Our rule has been we won’t buy anything that’s less than 40 per cent off. I’ve an overcoat from Hollister for £60, down from £100, so that’s a good deal.”