HUNDREDS of people queued to grab the best bargains as department stores threw open their doors for the traditional Boxing Day sales.
At Harvey Nichols flagship store in Edinburgh queues went round the block – with people hoping to get their hands on discounted designer jackets, shoes and handbags.
And there were queues outside the shopping centres in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, Union Square in Aberdeen and Dundee as bargain hunters prepared to seek out the best deals.
Gemma Hare, marketing manager of Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh said: “When the doors opened people were running into the store. The Gucci table was cleared in under a minute.”
Among the hottest items were a Sukey tote, reduced from £560 to £390 and Celine cabas shoulder bags, down from £1150 to £805. Gucci, Prada , Bottega Veneta, Louboutin shoes and Victoria Beckham dresses were also discounted and in demand.
After a disappointing year and a huge rise in online shopping there were fears people would lose their thirst for the Boxing Day sales, but shopping centres and department stores around the country reported a busy day’s trading.
Buchanan Centre manager Kathy Murdoch said: “The sales have got off to a great start with shoppers eager to find a bargain. The Next sale always draws a big crowd, and this year was no exception with more than 300 people queuing up outside the store from the early hours.
“Judging by the shopping bags it looks like fashion items and clothing have been the big sellers of the day.
“The excitement of the sales has continued throughout the day with the centre seeing thousands of visitors on the hunt for the perfect bargain.”
In Dundee the manager of the Overgate Centre, David Carson, said: “The sales have been really popular with Dundee shoppers who have been visiting the centre in their thousands. The Next sale is always a popular event and we had queues of shoppers waiting patiently for the doors to open at 6am.
“Elsewhere in the centre, visitors have been bagging some great festive bargains throughout the day and we expect this to continue throughout the sales period.”
In London’s West End the sales were boosted by large numbers of Chinese tourists – who threw themselves into the traditional shopping scrum in search of new experiences.
Richard Brown, of Global Blue, said: “Last year, Boxing Day helped fuel a 49 per cent increase in the number of transactions year on year from these luxury-focused international shoppers.
“The most popular purchases this year are expected to include designer handbags and fashion items, rarely discounted at home with an increasing appetite for premium beauty brands. With average spend per transaction for both Chinese and Middle Eastern shoppers at well over £1,000, their impact will be hugely valuable to this sales season.”
Jace Tyrrell, director of the New West End Company which represents retailers, said: “This is one of the strongest trading days of the year in terms of sales, and retailers are pulling out all the stops to harness the coveted international spend, whilst also attracting shoppers from across the UK all hungry for a bargain.”
Meanwhile figures from Experian showed online shopping had not slowed over the holiday period, with 84 million visits made to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day.